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Rising to the Challenge: Bright Power's Resilient Power Hub

 |  NYCEDC

bright power

Superstorm Sandy revealed just how vulnerable our electric grid is to extreme weather.

This inspired Bright Power, an energy management company, to develop a product that will provide power resiliency to buildings even in the worst conditions. 

As one of 11 winning teams in our RISE : NYC competition, Bright Power will share up to $30 million with the other winners to implement its technology at Sandy-impacted small businesses across the city.

Over the next few weeks, our blog series Rising to the Challenge will share the stories of each of the eleven innovative resiliency technologies. This week, we kick it off with Bright Power’s Resilient Power Hub. 

Basic Facts

Company Name: Bright Power, Lower Manhattan, New York

Number of Employees: 65

Technology Category: Energy Technologies; providing clean, resilient power to small businesses and keeping the lights on and open for business, even when the power grid is down.

About: The Resilient Power Hub (RPH) is a power plant for a single building. It integrates different technologies—a micro-combined heat system with solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage—to provide a continuous source of power.

Other Benefits: Not only does the Resilient Power Hub provide back-up power to critical building loads and protect it from utility grid disruptions, it also reduces a building’s energy costs by offsetting electric and gas energy consumption.

 river and gerard

An Interview with the Bright Power Team

When and how did you get the idea for Resilient Power Hub? 

According to Sustainable CUNY, while the 672 solar arrays on NYC rooftops sustained little or no damage during Hurricane Sandy, they were unable to supply critically needed power during the subsequent outage. This inspired us to develop a product that would provide power resiliency for buildings, even in the worst conditions.

This was an important innovation for Bright Power’s clients, many of which are members of the affordable and supportive housing community who rely on innovations in energy management to keep their budgets stable and buildings operating no matter what.

 bright power via verde

How does it work? 

In talking with clients and vendors, we determined that the best approach was to combine technologies, harness their benefits, and minimize their drawbacks. As a result, the Resilient Power Hub has evolved in parallel with the technology over the course of two years.

It combines solar PV, Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and energy storage to maximize the available power to the building in times of disruption. Because of this combination, the Hub pays for itself after initial upfront costs. 

What does this mean for NYC?

We provide all of the benefits of an efficiency initiative: even when the grid is online, the RPH saves energy from on-site generation, as well as by managing demand. The RPH’s focus on on-site power generation contributes to New York City’s decentralized and resilient micro-grid movement.

By creating multiple levels of resiliency, we help buildings prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them!

What type of small businesses/buildings will benefit most from your technology? 

Although the technology was designed with multifamily buildings in mind, the RPH is accessible to all types of buildings.

Multifamily buildings will use the micro Combined Heat and Power (mCHP) for domestic hot water, as well as powering elevators, lighting, demand reduction, and so forth. When the grid is offline, the RPH will power appliances like water pumps and lighting. 

renaissance charter

Bright Power engineers will perform energy audits on buildings. Pictured here at Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, students learn about solar power and energy-efficient buildings from the Bright Power team.

How has RISE : NYC supported your technology’s path to innovate? 

RISE : NYC not only motivates and inspires goal-oriented innovation, it provides a trusted platform that allows us to deepen our impact. RISE : NYC gives us the opportunity to design and build the RPH for multiple locations, essentially creating a blueprint for this solution to be implemented, expanded, and perfected.

Want to learn more about Bright Power's Resilient Hub? Watch their informative video below.

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