Have you ever wondered how utilities are responding to the recent influx of solar, battery storage and EV charging on the grid and what havoc this might cause if not monitored properly? Let’s start with the impact. According to the EIA, in 2019, 40% of all new electric capacity added to the grid came from solar, the largest such share in history. Solar's increasing competitiveness against other technologies has allowed it to quickly increase its share of total U.S. electrical generation - from just 0.1% in 2010 to nearly 3% today. Data on electric vehicle sales in the US shows that nearly 5.4 million hybrid electric vehicles and over 1.4 million plug-in electric vehicles (USA Facts). EEI estimates the number of EVs on U.S. roads is projected to reach 18.7 million in 2030, up from 1 million at the end of 2018. This is about 7 percent of the 259 million vehicles (cars and light trucks) expected to be on U.S. roads in 2030. All this distributed renewable energy generation and storage coupled with the surge in demand from the growing proportion of electric vehicles is straining an antiquated electrical grid, which was designed as a one way super highway 100 years ago. Imagine NYC without traffic lights! That’s the effect of distributed energy.
So, how are utilities responding? This month, we are thrilled to feature Micatu, Incorporated, a WAVE Equity Partners portfolio company which offers advanced sensor-based solutions to enable the smart grid of the future. With Micatu, utilities can gain visibility into their grid and seamlessly monitor any power quality or backfeed issues renewables and distributed energy resources might cause. Established in 2011, Micatu, Inc. is a leader in optical sensing solutions and the newest WAVE Equity Partners portfolio company that fits right in with our ecosystem play of high growth portfolio companies essential to solving the needs in mission-critical infrastructure markets – clean energy, food, water, and waste.
“Micatu’s optical sensing solutions raise the bar for the accuracy, precision, and reliability of vital data needed to move the electric grid into the future,” said Michael Oshetski, CEO and President of Micatu. “WAVE’s investment will allow us to bring this technology to scale while building an incredible team to support our next phase of growth.”
“We could not be more thrilled to be joining WAVE’s portfolio of companies and take our technology to the next level,” said Michael Sexton, COO and Executive Vice President for Micatu, Inc. “We would also like to thank England & Co, Mintz, Williams Mullen, Troutman and Ogando law firms for the professional services and support.”
Micatu’s GridView product line provides a high-fidelity measurement platform that enables utilities to collect more accurate data and provide actionable insights to improve power quality and grid reliability. The optical sensors are capable of monitoring multiple voltage classes which reduces overhead cost and installation complexity.
Active deployments of the technology are being used to uplevel the way utilities measure complex systems such as underground networks and substations. The measurement platform can replace traditional current and potential transformers while increasing crew safety, providing more accurate and smarter management controls, and lowering capital and operational costs. From solar farms to substations, sitting on the distribution or high voltage network, the use cases for Micatu to drive exponential growth are exciting and mission-critical to reliability.
“WAVE is pleased to support Micatu with growth capital,” said Mark Robinson, Managing Director of WAVE Equity Partners. “Having worked with the management team for more than a year and hearing applause for their unique capabilities time and again from customers, we came to appreciate their technology leadership in the market and the team’s execution capability.”
Micatu Inc.’s usage of optical sensor technologies is leading the way in creating power solutions in the areas of voltage, current, acceleration, vibration, displacement and condition monitoring applications. With WAVE’s investment, Micatu, Inc. will continue to bridge the gap between technical subject matter expertise and extensive market driven commercialization.
This past month, Micatu, Inc. announced a growth round of investment led by WAVE Equity Partners and brokered by England & Company. The financing will be used to continue global expansion and further investment in its proprietary optical sensing technology platforms for industrial and utility market solutions.