Source: Silver Spring Networks

Silver Spring Networks, a leading provider of smart grid platforms, today announced its expanded ecosystem now provides even more options for improving the efficiency and reliability of the grid. New hardware and software offerings, integrating different aspects of the Silver Spring Smart Energy Platform, enable utilities to realize benefits more quickly from increasingly sophisticated smart grid applications. These offerings allow Silver Spring to support new solutions such as voltage reduction and optimization for grid efficiency, networked Fault Control Indicators (FCIs) for grid reliability, and turn-key supply and provisioning of in-home devices to simplify Home Area Network (HAN) deployments.

Increase Grid Efficiency with Voltage Reduction and Optimization

The Silver Spring ecosystem now includes leading providers of Volt/VAR Optimization (VVO) and Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) software, including ABB/RCCS, CURRENT Group, DC Systems, and Open Systems International (OSI.) These solutions enable utilities to leverage the Silver Spring Smart Energy Platform for these critical grid-efficiency solutions. CVR enables utilities to optimize the voltage level of the power delivered to customers. Utilities must ensure that every customer, to the last home on the line, receives sufficient voltage. Without access to the voltage monitoring capabilities in Silver Spring-enabled meters, utilities have no visibility into the voltage levels at these “end of line” homes, often leading to the over-provisioning of voltage on the distribution the grid.

With CVR and Silver Spring voltage monitoring, utilities can supply power at optimized voltage levels. VVO software takes this process a step further, enabling utilities to orchestrate the operation of many grid devices simultaneously to optimize power delivery and greatly reduce waste. Voltage monitoring enabled by Silver Spring provides the visibility and control capabilities that enable CVR and enhance VVO to a much greater extent than possible before, saving utilities the cost of excessive power purchases, reducing consumer bills, and eliminating unnecessary waste and CO2 emissions.

Improve Grid Reliability with Networked Faulted Circuit Indicators

High-performance networking combines with distributed intelligence to enable exciting new tools to monitor the health of the grid. Traditional Faulted Circuit Indicators (FCIs) lack communications capabilities, requiring utility crews to manually identify the fault. The next generation of FCIs, led by Silver Spring ecosystem partner Sentient Energy with the Master Monitor 2 product, delivers automatic notification of a fault, allowing utility crews to quickly pinpoint the location of an issue and conduct the necessary repairs. Sentient’s advanced, networked FCIs have measurement and processing capabilities that help utilities do more than locate a faulted line – they can also identify parts of the grid that might be susceptible to an outage before it occurs, such as power fluctuations resulting from a tree contacting a power line. Advanced FCIs equipped with Silver Spring communications can provide near-real-time information about the status and quality of the power flowing in distribution lines, supplying utility grid operators with advance notification of potential problems or circuit faults.

Silver Spring is working to qualify a number of additional FCI providers and expects to deliver Sentient’s Silver Spring-enabled Master Monitor 2 early in 2011. These FCIs are delivered with integrated Silver Spring Communications Modules, enabling them to ‘plug and play’ onto the Smart Energy Platform.

Simplify HAN Deployments with Silver Spring-Certified In-home Devices

The Silver Spring ecosystem has long included in-home devices from a wide variety of partners, with Silver Spring offering a device-qualification program to ensure interoperability across the Smart Energy Platform.Silver Spring is making these deployments easier by now offering turnkey solutions, with Silver Spring directly providing select partners’ devices. Devices covered under such resale agreements include the Control4 EC-100 in-home display, the Digi Xbee Repeater and the Energate Z100 programmable communicating thermostat. Having Silver Spring provide both proven Demand Response management software and pre-certified in-home devices helps utilities simplify their HAN deployments.

Getting More Value from the Silver Spring Smart Energy Platform

Silver Spring’s ecosystem of more than 40 certified partners supporting the Smart Energy Platform delivers significant value to Silver Spring’s utility clients. “Deriving energy efficiency from their AMI deployments, as CVR and VVO do, helps our utility clients demonstrate the value of their smart grid investment more rapidly,” said Eric Dresselhuys, EVP/CMO at Silver Spring. “Offering a turnkey solution, including our partners’ in-home devices, helps our clients streamline their HAN deployments and improve consumer engagement. We continue to incorporate these kinds of hardware and software additions into the platform to drive greater value for our customers.”