North America

The Power of Protection: 24/7 Microgrid Monitoring Keeps Mission-Critical Customers in Business

What happens when the power goes out at a hospital or data center? Ideally, nothing out of the ordinary.

Three people viewing monitors at a PowerSecure monitoring center.

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During emergency situations and natural disasters, mission-critical organizations rely on advanced microgrids for resiliency via reliable back-up power. But weather—from changes in sunlight and wind patterns to severe storms—plays a pivotal role in the stability and performance of these grids. Thankfully, companies like PowerSecure remain dedicated to monitoring the systems around the clock.

PowerSecure, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, runs its PowerControl Operation Center to continuously monitor and manage the health of each distributed energy resource (DER) and report changes in status to customers and utilities. The constant monitoring ensures companies dependent on microgrids benefit from optimal uptime—regardless of grid conditions, weather, or other external factors—and also help meet sustainability goals.

The 24/7 service was established in 2006 to provide real-time monitoring and service response to our customers. Today PowerSecure provides PowerControl Services to more than 2,500 sites.

To maintain a reliable and resilient power supply, microgrid operators manage energy resources proactively and adjust them based on weather forecasts, ensuring systems powered by Volvo Penta’s Tier 4 Final engines can power a grid that remains sustainable and resilient in the face of changing elements.

Microgrid Monitoring: How it Works

Microgrids are a popular investment for companies like major retailers, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, universities, data centers, hospitals, military installations, municipalities and communities that cannot afford a loss of power that results in revenue loss, damaged products, lowered customer service, and reduced worker safety.

PowerSecure’s PowerControl group currently monitors more than 3,500 engines and 2 gigawatts of interactive distributed generation, and the company is adding over 300 megawatts per year. Experts provide complete situational awareness of customers’ microgrids and quick access to fuel suppliers and maintenance teams all day, every day of the year. 

Lives operators work 24/7 from monitoring bureaus in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, keeping a close watch on the weather and monitoring signals and notifications from customers’ microgrids across the nation that may need distributed generation dispatched to manage demand response. These professionals look for ice storms, severe thunderstorms, tornado watches, extreme temperatures and hurricanes. When hurricane season begins, they look specifically for any wave that comes off the coast of Africa, and storm disturbances, weeks before they could become a major storm or hurricane.

In case of severe weather, PowerControl takes steps to prep customer assets, including topping off systems with fuel/DEF and additional system testing to ensure everything is in order. PowerControl also dispatches service repair teams when needed to bring customers’ energy generation and storage solutions back online quickly.

Proprietary software alerts operators in real-time of alarms or change of status at monitored locations so they can analyze and respond immediately. PowerControl also keeps customers up to date with monthly summary reports in addition to real-time communications during standby events or when service dispatch may be required.

“Our customers supply vital needs in their communities, and it’s very important to ensure they can continue business as usual,” says Stephen Larson, Senior Vice President for Sales at PowerSecure. “The role of PowerControl and our round-the-clock operators demonstrate our commitment to an unmatched level of expertise, quality and service.”

Other benefits of PowerControl monitoring include accurate measures of clients’ energy usage. Operators can identify energy load management issues in real time to craft a response and discover periods of energy spikes or dips quickly. The data helps also PowerSecure improve microgrid performance, reduce overall costs, and increase ROI. Detailed data assists customers with long-term strategic plans, including facility expansion or new construction, Larson adds.

Volvo Penta Partnership

PowerSecure uses Volvo Penta Diesel Tier 4 Final engines to power its customers' microgrids because they meet strict environmental standards. Using Volvo Penta’s Tier 4 Final engines ensures microgrids comply with the latest regulatory requirements. In fact, Volvo Penta’s Tier 4 Final diesel engine technology releases 99% fewer emissions than previous generations of diesel engines.

Once installed, the Volvo Penta Tier 4 Final diesel engines deliver high performance, reaching full horsepower in less than eight seconds to avoid potential disruptions during power failure. The engine’s low maintenance requirements are also a plus, saving both time and money. And their modular design allows for scalability, meaning microgrid capacity can grow as the company’s backup power needs grow.

Learn more about Volvo Penta Diesel Tier 4 Final engines here.

Visit PowerSecure for more information about advanced microgrid solutions.