July 24, 2020
By Jordan Frias
Presented with the problem of running renewable energy on a grid to power a California farm and vineyard, Jorge Elizondo developed a decentralized optimization strategy.
The strategy turned into a company that develops the hardware and software necessary to integrate renewables and batteries on a microgrid to produce sustainable and clean energy. Founded by Elizondo in 2015, Heila Technologies is now a fully fledged microgrid startup based in Somerville.
“There’s a lot of companies out there that do microgrids, but the proof is in the pudding,” said co-founder and development lead Albert Chan. “Until you actually have a microgrid up and you visit a microgrid and you talk to the technical team, you don’t really know if it works or not.”
Elizondo, a PhD graduate of MIT, and Chan, a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management, met in an energy club at the school along with CEO Francisco Morocz.
The three went on to win the MIT Clean Energy Prize and, with the school’s funding, launched the company.
“The ideas came from research at MIT, and the first bit of funding came from MIT when we won the Clean Energy Prize. So that funding really helped jumpstart the business,” Chan said.