Heila Press

Heila Technologies to Expand Distributed Grid Intelligence with Heila EDGE®, a Modular Energy Platform

Announces $2.5 Million Equity Investment from Table Rock Infrastructure Partners, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Additional Private Investors

For Immediate Release
October 21, 2020

SOMERVILLE, Massachusetts – Heila Technologies, Inc. (Heila) announced today that it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding for its Heila EDGE® platform, an end-to-end solution to integrate, operate and optimize groups of distributed energy resources (DER). Table Rock Infrastructure Partners, an equity firm focused on helping municipalities with critical infrastructure projects, is the lead investor. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector, together with individuals, are supporting investors. The funding round will remain open for a short period of time for additional strategic investors.

Recent reports estimate that the global distributed energy industry is expected to reach $650 billion by 2028. The growth comes as users recognize that the grid will need to be more resilient to climate and cyber threats and be able to integrate clean energy and storage, all while providing reliable and cost-competitive power. This $2.5 million investment will allow Heila to become a key player in the distributed energy space by building on its existing modular controls and optimization product and developing partnerships with strategic equipment vendors, project developers and utilities.

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Seed Round Secured: The Next Phase on Heila’s Journey

Seed Round Secured: The Next Phase on Heila’s Journey

We are pleased to announce that Heila Technologies has raised a $2.5M series seed investment in a round led by Table Rock Infrastructure Partners, and with participation from MassCEC and additional private investors. We are honored to have their support and will count on expertise as they have all shown a deep commitment to modernizing the grid and accelerating the widespread adoption of sustainable technologies.

Five years ago, we began an effort to change the way distributed energy resources (DERs) are deployed and used. Traditional top-down and centralized approaches to manage these assets are cumbersome, rigid, and expensive, and fail to provide the flexibility for their mass adoption. Seeking to simplify things, we developed a ground-up approach in which intelligence and decision making are placed right by the DERs themselves. This method enables DERs to act as “building blocks” that interact with each other and form larger energy systems over time – In a very similar way to how communities evolve.

Our first customer was the Stone Edge Farm microgrid, located in a vineyard deep in California’s wine country. We were tasked with controlling, coordinating, and optimizing a complex system of more than twenty diverse DERs (including solar arrays, batteries, turbines, fuel cells, large loads and more)… quite a challenge! Our ground-up approach proved to be successful in resolving the intricacies of each DER and flexible enough to manage systems of any shape and form.
These innovations resulted in the Heila EDGE® platform, which combines advances in edge-computing, control, optimization, and machine learning with a deep understanding of power and energy to seamlessly integrate, operate, and optimize groups of DERs. This was only possible thanks to the incredible work of the diverse team of ideators and doers that make up the Heila team.

Having deployed several landmark projects across the country, we now look towards the future. We are leveraging the seed round funding to target highly scalable markets with our ready to use, state-of-the-art, end-to-end solution. We are wasting no time in this effort, expanding the size of the Heila team threefold in just six months and doubling down on our commitment to provide our customers with an exceptional service.

Today – more than ever – we are convinced that intelligent fleets of distributed energy resources can play a critical role in reshaping how we as a society interact with energy. The future is bright and exciting, and we look forward to working with our investors and industry partners towards a cleaner, more resilient, and more equitable electric grid.

Thinking Outside the Grid: Heila Technologies Delivers ‘Virtual’ Microgrids for Sustainable and Resilient Energy

Thinking Outside the Grid: Heila Technologies Delivers ‘Virtual’ Microgrids for Sustainable and Resilient Energy

October 2, 2019

Reena Karasin

Our energy grid was built around centralization. But as renewable energy sources such as solar and wind gain traction, the grid needs to adapt to include an array of components.

“With the decrease in cost of elements such as solar panels and batteries, we, as a society, have begun a move toward a more decentralized structure of energy generation and storage,” explains Francisco Morocz, CEO and Co-founder of Heila Technologies.

That’s where microgrids come in. Microgrids are smaller networks that use local energy sources. They’re typically connected to the grid and can rely on its energy if necessary, but can also run independently in “island” mode.

For microgrids to work with the larger grid, communication is key, as utilities need to navigate peak times and potential disruptions to ensure electricity is always available.

Communication benefits both the microgrid and the utility company. A microgrid can rely on the larger grid for energy when it must, but at other times it can support the grid by setting the import or export of power according to the needs of the system.

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Cleantech startup Heila Technologies will optimize microgrids for you

BOSTINNO

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.

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SimpliPhi Power and Heila Technologies Launch Customer-Cited Energy Storage Solution for Southwestern Electric Power Company

SimpiPhi Power

May 28, 2020

OXNARD, Calif., May 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SimpliPhi Power, a leading U.S. manufacturer of safe, non-toxic, cobalt-free lithium ion energy storage systems, has partnered with Heila Technologies to deploy intelligent energy storage+solar systems at a demonstration project in Shreveport, Louisiana with the support of Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (AEP) company.

“Behind-the-meter energy storage is a cost-effective way to help utilities and customers alike manage their electricity usage with the security of knowing they have access to stored energy that can be seamlessly integrated into the grid or islanded during power outages,” said SimpliPhi Power’s CEO Catherine Von Burg.

The demonstration project with Heila Technologies will aggregate distributed energy resources and empower SWEPCO to manage these assets as an optimized fleet. Under a single platform, SWEPCO will be able to leverage the storage+solar systems to correct power factor, perform peak shaving, and manage overall energy supply, all while improving customer resiliency. Building resiliency for utility customers using renewable power generation plus storage will be key as the Southeast United States continues to see an increase in extreme weather events due to the impacts of climate change.

Heila’s Senior Engineer and Co-Founder, Jorge Elizondo shared, “The Heila Platform is able to sense changes across all connected components and make the system holistically and automatically respond to the changing conditions of the electrical grid. With SimpliPhi, we have found a safe and high performing battery that is ready to be deployed at scale to make this vision a reality.”

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A Greener Future for Innovation

Mathworks

Another company making strides at Greentown Labs is the energy company Heila Technologies. Heila joined Greentown Labs in 2016 and is focused on improving the efficiency of the electric grid through decentralized microgrid control technology. Their platform makes it easy to connect solar arrays, batteries, and other energy resources to self-managing microgrids. The system is designed to help customers grow resilient microgrids while decreasing the carbon footprint. Such as in the case of one of Heila’s first clients—the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid. This microgrid has been keeping the lights on during wildfire-driven grid disruptions every year since 2017.

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A New Approach To Microgrids Passes Key Hurdle In New Mexico

Forbes

Feb 28, 2020

By Peter Asmus

Meeting the demand for electricity in 2020 is a global conundrum. The customer loads served by today’s alternating current (AC) power grid infrastructure built up over the past 100 years are more often than not natively direct current (DC) due to the proliferation of plug loads. These include computers and mobile devices as well as LED lighting and new and more efficient appliances. According to some estimates, as much as 80% of demand for electricity in residential and commercial and structures are natively DC.

The pilot project, developed by Emera Technologies in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories and Heila Technologies is a glimpse into what a future sustainable and resilient power system could look like. The Heila Technologies partnership is an open source microgrid control platform nurtured at the Stone Edge Farm in Sonoma County, California.

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Microgrids: The future of business and farming

The Weekly Calistogan

February 26, 2020

By Tim Carl and Mackenzie Carl

When power went out in Northern California during PG&E’s series of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) last fall, thousands of households and businesses went dark. But a few kept their lights on – those with generators, and other sources of stored power, like the self-contained microgrid owned by Mac McQuown.

McQuown was ready for the moment the power went off. When it happened, he reached for his phone and pressed a few buttons. Seconds later, the lights sprang back to life.

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All-electric homes offer a prototype for low-carbon housing in Colorado

Mathworks

The Basalt Vista housing project in Basalt, Colorado is eschewing natural gas to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, making a bold statement about future energy use. Instead, using electricity, the development is focused on relying on renewable energy sources, expecting to be 70% renewable by 2021 and has plans to go even higher. The Heila controllers are a huge part of this effort and Heila is using the site as a pilot project to demonstrate how granular its control systems can be.

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A household-scale virtual power plant has arrived

pv magazine

August 15, 2019

By William Driscoll

Household Virtual Power PlantHow Colorado’s Holy Cross Energy is working toward 70% clean energy in 2030 by piloting a household-scale virtual powerplant technology to integrate rooftop solar and storage using Heila EDGE.

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Heila Technologies Receives State Award Through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Innovate Mass Program

Wicked Local Sommerville

January 11, 2019

Greentown Labs SignAs a proud recipient of the InnovateMass Award, Heila Technologies received $249,052 to support its peer-to-peer, distributed energy resources optimization framework for microgrid applications. Heila’s goal is to use this funding to help accelerate the adoption of clean energy at the grid’s edge by developing new control and optimization technologies.

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How to Build a Microgrid in a Day

Microgrid Knowledge

May 7, 2018

Craig Wooster and Jorge Elizondo

In this presentation from the Microgrid 2018 Conference, Craig Wooster, project manager and general contractor for the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid Project, and Jorge Elizondo, co-founder of Heila Technologies, discuss this leading-edge Microgrid Project and the critical role of the Heila iq platform in its success.

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Stone Edge Farm Winery Looks to a Hydrogen-Powered Future

Environment + Energy Leader

February 26, 2018

by Alyssa Danigelis

Craig WoosterIn this overview of the Stone Edge Farm Estate and Winery Microgrid, Mac McQuown discusses his vision for the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid, and the first true test of the microgrid: the 2017 Sonoma wildfires. It was through this test that Heila co-founder Jorge Elizondo further developed the vision for the company.

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How smarter microgrids can boost clean energy

Yale Climate Connections

March 17, 2017

By Eileen Mignoni

Berkeley Lab Microgrid SchematicHeila Technologies’ Jorge Elizondo comments on the possibilities of making microgrids simpler and more affordable and adding more clean energy to the nation’s energy mix. Using a device like the Heila iQ eliminates the need for expert installation and customization.

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Cleantech University Prize Highlights Next Generation of Clean Energy Innovators

United States Department of Energy

June 23, 2016

Heila Technologies won the 2016 Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) National Competition in 2016. Heila won for its universal control hub that automatically monitors and manages disparate microgrids. In addition to the $50,000 award, they also received a voucher to access facilities and capabilities at the world-class National Labs.

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MIT team’s “brain” for microgrids wins Clean Energy Prize

MIT News

May 2, 2016

By Rob Matheson

The Heila Technologies team, made up of MIT students and alumni, won the MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP) competition in 2016 for creating the “brain” for microgrids, making the systems more efficient and easier to own and operate. This prize was awarded early in Heila’s development, as they were working with the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid Project to pilot the Heila controller.

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