Where do we come from?
We, the grid-edge professionals including this firm, come from Bell Labs, extraterrestrial satellites, northern California off-grid enthusiasts, and telecom repeater stations. Grid defectors. We come from the national labs –first SERI and then NREL. We come from R&D departments at almost every petroleum company and electric utility in the world.
Some power electronics came from technology for submarines; some from DC switches used in the semiconductor industry. We built storage from golf cart batteries tied together with welding cable. And everything else that went into making a completed, working system (including the electrical Code that governs its installation), has been borrowed, adapted and co-oped from existing technologies and commercial product solutions.
We come from an era of engineering deprivation, when there were few building blocks to pick from and many of those didn’t work.
We had PURPA and now have state interconnection tariffs. We were about monitoring, experimentation, and research. We were driven by inspiration and wonder and idealism. And we were a curiosity and a dismissible annoyance to utilities. Some treated us with benign indulgence; some with scorn and hostility. We were bucking 120 years of utility ingenuity and corporate cultural bias. We were bucking the taken-for-granted unidirectional electrical energy business model of “They-make-it, We-use-it”.
We were a simple payback model. We survived off the silicon scraps of the semiconductor industry.