Advanced Microgrid Solutions Raises $34 Million in Series B, Energy Leaders See DER Optimization as Major Growth Market
July 18, 2017
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Advanced Microgrid Solutions ("AMS") announced it has raised over $34 million in a Series B funding round amid projections by utility executives that distributed energy resources (DERs) will create the biggest stress on the grid in the coming decade. The round was led by Energy Impact Partners ("EIP"), a collaborative utility-funded investment firm, Southern Company (NYSE: SO) and DBL Partners, who also led AMS's Series A round. Participants in the round included energy technology and infrastructure companies GE Ventures, AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and Macquarie Capital, as well as reinvestment by other early investors, including former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The round brings AMS's total funding to $52 million.
"The future of energy is increasingly distributed," AMS CEO Susan Kennedy said. "We're incredibly proud to have earned the backing of some of the largest and most advanced energy companies in the world. This powerful group of investors gives AMS access to a global network of expertise, customers and resources." AMS will use the funding to scale deployment of its Armada building-to-grid DER optimization platform and expand into new markets.
"One of the greatest challenges facing utilities, customers and grid managers around the world is managing distributed energy resources," said Hans Kobler, EIP's CEO and Managing Partner. "The smartest investments in grid infrastructure in the coming decade will be focused on the economics of DER management," added Michael Donnelly, EIP partner and Chief Risk Officer, who will serve on the AMS board of directors.
"AMS's Armada platform stands out among DER software solutions because it focuses on extracting maximum financial value for both utilities and energy consumers," said Mark Lantrip, President & CEO of Southern Company Services. "What we like about AMS's software platform is that it makes distributed resources part of the utility solution instead of the problem."
Increasing penetration of distributed solar, wind and electric vehicles causes power fluctuations, voltage issues and costly demand charges for customers and grid managers. Recent reports indicate that nearly 60 percent of utility executives believe the proliferation of consumer-owned distributed generation technologies will have a significant impact on grid reliability and power quality through 2020, caused by issues such as increased voltage violations and backflow of power into distribution substations. As electricity customers rapidly add new distributed energy resources, from solar photovoltaics (PV) to electric vehicles, utilities see opportunities to tap into these resources to balance the grid, improve efficiency and reliability, and increase revenues. "Optimization of these distributed resources is the missing link in the value chain between end-use customers and the grid," Lantrip added.
AMS's Armada platform uses cloud-based analytics and advanced energy storage to provide continuous financial optimization of customer-sited energy resources for end-use customers, and aggregates behind-the-meter resources into fully optimized, dispatchable portfolios for utility service. AMS plans to use the new funding to expand its platform services to new markets.
"We see DER management as a major growth market," said Nancy Pfund, managing partner of DBL Partners and one of the earliest investors in Tesla, SolarCity and AMS. "AMS's software platform is tapping into billions of customer dollars invested in clean energy to transform the electric grid."
Source: Advanced Microgrid Solutions
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