Renewables and storage software providers Power Factors and Inaccess join forces with acquisition

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Inaccess, a UK-headquartered renewable energy software platform provider which has worked on some of the world’s biggest battery storage projects, has been acquired by San Francisco-headquartered renewables software company Power Factors.  

Inaccess specialises in digital infrastructure management solutions for assets including wind, solar, battery storage, virtual power plants and telecoms sites.

In battery storage, it has supplied solutions including energy management systems (EMS) and SCADA technology to two of the biggest solar-plus-storage projects in California, helping control the batteries’ charging and discharging as well as their interaction with the solar PV.

The company’s ‘Unity’ power plant controller platform for energy storage can manage the participation of battery assets in market opportunities for frequency response, capacity markets, real-time trading and more while also managing state of charge (SoC) and other metrics of the assets’ operation.

At one of those California sites, for example, a 300MWac solar plant is paired with a 140MW/560MWh battery project. However, the project owner has signed power purchase agreements (PPA) with a number of different offtakers.

That means the plant’s output and performance needs to be sub-divided in several different portions. Inaccess’ EMS controls each of these separate ‘sub-plants,’ coordinating the battery energy storage system (BESS), PV plant and reactive power production.

Functions it performs include energy shifting, SoC management and balancing, ramp rate control for the PV plant as well as frequency and voltage support at both whole-system and sub-plant levels.

At another large-scale California project, a 75MW/300MWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) BESS has been retrofitted to a 100MWac/134MWdc PV plant.

Again, at that site, the Inaccess EMS controls the power conversion system (PCS) and battery containers to provide a wide range of functionality, from ramp rate control to energy time shifting and SoC management, but also crucially enables reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs) to help the project owner meet performance guarantees for customers on reliability, safety and output.

Customers demand advanced digital solutions

In a press release last week, Power Factors noted that particularly as renewable energy deployment moves away from subsidies to a more “dynamic, market-driven environment,” technologies that can closely monitor and control both an asset’s performance in the markets as well as on a technical level will be crucial.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will offer the ability to connect Inaccess’ EMS, SCADA and power plant controller technologies with the US company’s asset performance management solutions, Power Factors said, unlocking new revenue opportunities for customers.

In a Guest Blog for Energy-Storage.news published last August, Power Factors co-founder Steve Hanawalt argued that the uptake of digital asset management software for battery storage had lagged behind that of the wind and solar sectors.

However, Hanawalt wrote, customers and investors are increasingly demanding higher levels of digitalisation and rich data in storage too.

“As battery storage enters its next growth phase and gains more investors, a higher quantity and quality of data is crucial to maintain momentum,” Hanawalt wrote.

“Asset managers and operators have a unique opportunity to capitalise on innovation and lessons learned in wind and solar, hitting the ground running in their adoption of digital asset management systems.”

Power Factors’ co-founder contributed that blog a few months after the successful commissioning in May 2021 of Saticoy, a 100MW/400MWh BESS project in California by Arevon Asset Management. Saticoy is onboarded to Power Factors’ then newly-launched battery storage performance data platform, Drive.

Inaccess has onboarded its platforms to about 35GW of projects across different technologies in more than 60 countries. Meanwhile the acquisition will mean its new owner Power Factors has nearly 200GW of wind, solar, hydro and energy storage assets globally under management.

“The vision of linking plant insights to trading and real-time controls is among the most exciting area of the renewables market today. Open, smart, and autonomous tightly integrated tools will be required with the ever-increasing penetration of renewables onto the grid,” Power Factors CEO Gary Meyers said.

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