Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Intelligence & Upgrades For Individual Energy Devices”
Guest: Jorge Elizondo – Heila Technologies
Interviewers: Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs & John Dustin – JED Insurance

Click here to read the transcript

Nathan (1s):
Welcome back Radio Entrepreneurs, listeners, and fans. I’m producer Nathan Gobes filling in for Jeffrey Davis this morning. And I want to thank you all for joining. We have at my side, John Dustin of JED Insurance. Welcome John

John (14s):
Morning, Nathan, I’m glad to be back. And this looks like it’s going to be a great set of interviews.

Nathan (19s):
I agree. I agree. Thank you for, for co-hosting with me. It’s Always good to have you at my side. Our next guest is Jorge Elizondo, a CTO and co-founder of Heila Technologies. Welcome Jorge.

Jorge (33s):
Thank you for inviting.

Nathan (35s):
Yes. Happy to have you on the show. Why don’t you tell us about what you’re doing and, and what your company is all about?

Jorge (42s):
Absolutely, absolutely. So Haley’s is a company that started in 2015 out of MIT. I did my, my PhD at MIT. It might read control and my grid optimization and microwaves are systems of that combined, you know, energy generation, energy storage, and energy consumption. So if you have, for example, a house with solar panels, batteries that you can connect or disconnect from the grid that will be considered a micro grid, auto or projects are usually a combination of many different houses or, or larger applications, commercial industrial. So that was my research at MIT.

Jorge (1m 23s):
How do you control systems like that? And we created a key lamb in 2015 to simplify the construction operation and optimization of the systems. We started as a combination of strong, theoretical knowledge and field experience, where we discovered that, you know, this isn’t a very hard to build. There’s a lot of complexity in there

John (1m 49s):
And who I hate is this, you know, I’ve been kind of fall on the grid thing that everybody talks about that we’re putting too much stress on the grid. Is this anything related to that,

Jorge (2m 0s):
Correct? Correct. Because you know, when you build microgrids, you start putting what is called distributed energy resources into the grid. These are resources that are not centralized, like a power plant, where you have one big location of energy generation, but you have it all over the place. And it’s usually very close to the consumption. So that brings a lot of advantages. For example, you lose way less energy in transmitting the energy from one place to another, but it also creates complexities because now instead of having a few power plants, you know, in the hundreds, thousands, maybe that you have to manage, I have millions of resources that are doing their own thing, right?

Jorge (2m 46s):
And there’s effects that they put on the grid and that stresses the grid. You can, you can think of of if everybody installed solar panels in their house, for example, or in their commercial building, there’s going to be a lot of generation in the day, right? More than we know what to do with it. And then in the evening, there’s no generation and power plants have to ramp up very quickly. And sometimes they can’t, they start creating in this, this phenomenon right there, there’s something that’s called the dock or so by actually coordinating and controlling the resources, these millions of resources that are installed in the grid. You don’t have this furniture, you can avoid these problems and have a much more resilient and efficient grid.

John (3m 31s):
Some of these big providers, I’m sorry. I know you’ve been some of the big providers, I think. And how you series do they drop during peak hours, some of the electricity flow to keep everything under control, because you hear that sometimes where people will say, oh, my step went off for a second and two or whatever.

Jorge (3m 49s):
Yeah. It’s a, it’s a big problem from them, for them right now. I think that places where more, where there’s more solar penetration, it’s still are, you know, maybe 20, 30% and that’s still manageable. But if we go to 50, 70, 80% solar penetration, like everybody has solar, then the rules needs to change. Right, right now we’re operating under this premise in most places, not everybody, but in a lot of places, this premise of net metering, meaning that you use install solar panels in your house, you send the energy to the grid and you essentially use the grid as a big battery. Right. But that’s certainly not sustainable. I’m a full proponent of that metering and incentives for solar.

Jorge (4m 33s):
But as we have more and more, we ha we start to have what we need to start adding energy, storage and control. So we can coordinate these resources

John (4m 46s):
In Massachusetts.

Jorge (4m 49s):
The company is in Massachusetts and California. So we are actually, the team is played. I myself, I’m in California right now. Although I did start in Massachusetts and two thirds of the company approximately are in,

John (5m 4s):
Because Massachusetts, I believe is still in a way with the attacks credit facility or there’s some reduction in it. So it’s kind of interesting. You’re talking about using it more. I mean, I’ve taken away some of the benefits,

Jorge (5m 16s):
Correct? Correct. So there’s certainly some changes that are coming for tax credits and incentives, but I think most governments, most states recognize the importance of solar. So it’s just finding a way to actually incentivize solar while also incentivizing something like energy storage and management. I think management is the key actually. That’s why we work in what we do. That’s what we do. Right. We bring management to the edge of the grid so we can coordinate all these resources.

Nathan (5m 51s):
So if we could step back, so our listeners get a better understanding of what it is you guys do. You were just talking about management. That’s, that’s the piece that you step in. Are you, are you selling a S like a control box or what exactly does, does your organization do for the grid?

Jorge (6m 7s):
Yeah, so Heila Technologies is a combination of hardware and software or product it’s heroine software. So when you sell a controller that is installed in front of, or next to the ER, and we bring Intelligence to this, the RS. So in a sense or vision, is that the RS, by the way, by DRS, I mean that any resources, so these numerous solar panels, batteries consumption, control, like load control is packs or whatever you want to control. We make them intelligent right with our controller so they can sell, like they can interact with other resources and form systems.

Jorge (6m 53s):
In that way. That’s very different from the typical approach where there’s a centralized control that tries to manage everything. We actually distributed intelligence and we’ve formed systems. We can, we have created systems of a lot of different forums on tapes because by the suited intelligence, you have internet, you have building blocks. Essentially each resource becomes a building block. We can interact with others and force and create systems like that. So it’s very flexible. I’m very agnostic to any typology.

John (7m 25s):
Hey, is your customer residential commercial and what distribution system are you’re using.

Jorge (7m 30s):
So, so we have projects that are residential or not a single house. It’s usually we have, it’s a collection of residences. And actually just last week, I was in Tampa, Florida, because we we’re finalizing a project in there where there is 40 homes. Every single home has its own battery. And then there’s also community resources, right? And all together forms a microwave. So it can disconnect altogether from the grid. There can be sharing between the houses and, and we also manage the community resources so that they are fairly used by everyone. So we have done those kinds of price does aggregation of residential, but most of our projects are actually commercial, industrial.

Jorge (8m 15s):
So a little bit or larger sizes where there’s solar plus storage, plus some low control typically. And we manage that for the customer

John (8m 27s):
And how you find them, the class visit. They come at you where you have sales reps or internet, what’s your sales model.

Nathan (8m 35s):
And if I can add to that question, you know, obviously, you know, we’ve talked about the benefits to the grid and the community. What’s, I’m curious what benefits are to the end user. You know, if I’m a, let’s say I’m a business owner with a solar panels on my, my company’s roof, for example, or, or a battery, you know, what brings me to healer?

Jorge (8m 53s):
Yes, absolutely. So let me answer both questions. The first one is how do we find the projects? And we rarely go to the end customer. We sell usually three main channels. One is product developers. So we work with a lot of people that actually find the end customer and say, I need to build a system here and I need control and they bring us in, right? So that’s a typical approach. The second is utilities. We have agreements with certain utilities to do the projects. For example, the Tampa project that I just mentioned is actually with a utility and we’re working with the utility to deploy this.

Jorge (9m 35s):
So this is number two. And number three, the third channel is equipment vendors. So we worked for example, with battery companies that are pulled into projects by private developers or BYOD customers. And we provide the control. We kind of make this equipment Intelligence then regarding your question of the benefits. So each one of these channels has incentives to work with us, right? And there’s benefits for developers benefit for utilities and there’s benefits for equipment vendors. The ankle swimmer of course also benefits. And that goes usually into energy savings. Well, actually, sorry about energy savings and resiliency. That’s the most important aspects of energy savings for residential is complicated because there’s flat tariffs, usually flat rates, meaning that they pay the same amount for the energy at any time of the day, but that’s not true for commercial industrial, where they have what is called time of use.

Jorge (10m 36s):
And they pay more for energy at certain times of the day than another. And in those cases, the value of energy storage becomes very important because you can shift your consumption from one time to another. And then commercial, industrial customers also have what is called demand charges. And then they pay for the peak of their power consumption, right? So the maximum that they consume and a given interval, usually 15 minutes, they pay for that big for the entire month, right? So if you maintain your peak low, you can save a lot of money for commercial industrial. Usually the, the costs are half and half half for the man charged half for the energy.

Jorge (11m 19s):
So that’s that energy save or that savings, right? Economic incentives to do this. The second one is resiliency. And we have been seen in California, for example, having extended blackouts for something that is called public safety power shutdowns, which is shutdowns of the grid to avoid fires. And that has caused a lot of, a lot of blackouts, right? And then we saw Texas in the winter having also extended shutdowns and blackouts. And if you see the trend, we’re seeing more and more blackouts occurring. So a lot of people are looking for resiliency.

Jorge (12m 0s):
A common solution has been, you’re using a diesel generator in the house, right. But we’re trying, there’s an alternative it’s using solar plus storage is something that you use all the time instead of you’re using when the greatest down so that those benefits have economic impact and resiliency is very powerful for a lot of people. And in some markets,

John (12m 24s):
It’s interesting because I think at least, I don’t know if you guys remember that she is ago, like an Ron tried to lock in the class that the half an hour peak hour or something, almost like, like an answer that other companies couldn’t get access to it. And I think that backfired on people. So, wow. You’re really ahead of this hole and it’s probably got some good, what do they call a green environment results too, so that people aren’t wasting energy.

Jorge (12m 55s):
Yeah. Yeah. And that goes into the third benefit, which, you know, as much as we like it, it’s a little bit harder to sell it is that environmental impact. If you have solar in your house, you’re certainly producing electricity with zero emissions and that’s important. And then you can use it for your own consumption. You can sell them to the grid so that your neighbors use it. You can charge your Eby with solar. And if you have batteries, you can actually use your solar through the entire day and night. So certainly environmental aspects are important. Also, we see that the most important aspect to make a decision are either economic or resiliency.

Jorge (13m 41s):
But I think as climate change becomes more and more critical, I think the environmental aspect will become more important than decision makers.

Nathan (13m 51s):
Yeah. It certainly feeds into the, the questions behind resiliency and a lot of the issues that are, that are caused there. So

Jorge (14m 0s):
Absolutely it’s all interrelated.

Nathan (14m 4s):
Well, thank you, Jorge. This was really interesting to learn about, and we’d love to have you come back and, and tell us more as he continues to grow and, and expand if, if listeners or viewers want to get in touch with you, find out how they can utilize the technology, how could they do so?

Jorge (14m 22s):
Yeah, well, I mean, we can, they can reach and we have a contact page there and it’s always interested. I’m happy to also receive an email, Jay Elizondo at Haleigh We’re always looking for interested people and in this space for partnerships, for collaborations to sell them projects, whatever we can find, we’re always open. This has to be an effort that is done as a community, right. Everybody has to participate.

Jorge (15m 2s):
If we want to solve this big challenge that we have of is that is modernizing the grid with renewables. So we tackle the climate change problem as well. So yeah. Happy to receive any comments or questions from listeners.

Nathan (15m 16s):
Yeah. I want to thank you again for coming on the show and John Dustin, JED Insurance, my a reliable cohost. How can people reach you if they want to get in touch

John (15m 25s):
By phone (508) 543-1067 or the web at www dot JED Insurance dot com? Or if you prefer email John dot D U S T I N at JED Insurance, R one Great.

Nathan (15m 41s):
Yeah, thanks. And I want to thank again, our listeners and viewers for tuning. In of course you can find this on our website, Radio Entrepreneurs dot com as well as YouTube, please subscribe and hit the bell button there to get notifications for when we post more interviews. Of course, we’re also a growing community on LinkedIn, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts, and many other platforms. This has been Radio Entrepreneurs. We’re back with another segment after this break.

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