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Q&A with Rich Green of Rich Green Ink in Palo Alto, CA

July 18, 2016

Rich's customer was plagued with frequent power outages, making the HUB a prime solution. 

--RoseWater Energy

 

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What issues were you trying to solve for your client with the RoseWater HUB?

RG: My client lives in a wooded area where falling tree limbs wreak havoc with local power lines. He runs a business out of his home and cannot tolerate the power outages, which can last for days after a big storm. He also has quite a bit of sensitive electronics on the property. It was common for those systems to fail after the power outages. Yes, he has a generator for emergency loads, but those 3-5 minutes between power loss and generator start can be very damaging to electronic systems.

What types of products were being affected in your client's home?

RG: Network switches, routers, automation processors, lighting control processors and servers were all affected.

What drew you to the RoseWater HUB as a solution?

RG: The elegance of one system to rule them all. With proper design and engineering of emergency load panels and sufficient back up power, which RoseWater is uniquely qualified to deliver, any kind of power anomaly from the grid or local generation is held at bay. The homeowner has no sense of power interruption when it occurs ahead of the RoseWater system. The other benefit, which is huge, is that RoseWater delivers laboratory-grade pure sine wave power with negligible distortion on the line. This benefits all manner of sensitive electronics downstream on the RoseWater circuits.

What prompted you to take a risk on a new product with a valued client?

RG: Trust. Joe Piccirilli has built a world-class team of industry experts in the field of power back up and management systems. His personal involvement along with the rock-solid support of Gunther Greiner, who represents the product in this area, gave me all the confidence I needed to move forward with the proposal.

Can you or your client comment on the power quality produced by the HUB?

RG: The systems have been up for about two months without a single incident. They work perfectly.

How has your client reacted to the HUB?

RG: Frankly, he is delighted that he doesn't have to worry about power outages anymore. Disturbances on the local grid are completely invisible to him and his staff.

What challenges were there in convincing your client to purchase the HUB?

RG: The biggest challenge was finding a suitable place to house five industrial-size racks (two full systems, one with extra UPS capacity) near the generator and transfer switch but out of sight when walking the property. After several design iterations with our team of electrical engineers, general contractors and system integrators, an architectural modification to the generator garage allowed us to place the racks perfectly while protecting them from the elements. We actually poured a new steel-reinforced concrete platform to support what amounts to over six tons of UPS batteries.

Did the RoseWater team help you in overcoming those challenges?

RG: The RoseWater team is world-class in every way. Support was impeccable, from initial load calculations to on-site surveys to final hands-on installation. Five gold stars!

Did the RoseWater team provide you with the tools you needed to make the sale?

RG: Yes. The most useful support is sales engineering up front. The RoseWater team dives in head first with technical sales support.

What other tools could RoseWater provide that would make your job easier?

RG: This project offered several learning opportunities. Placing the racks is a challenge because they are large and heavy. This is not a problem in commercial installation but residential presents other challenges, mostly with space and proximity to local generation equipment. Personally, since I am not professionally trained in high voltage systems, I would appreciate a basic primer on how to integrate high voltage power backup systems, with a glossary of terms and a statement of best practices. Some kind of online high voltage mini boot camp would be really helpful.

How did you find working with the RoseWater team?

RG: Five Gold Stars. Flawless support.

What should RoseWater have done differently, in order to improve the experience?

RG: Delivery logistics can be very challenging. We actually had to transfer from one truck to another just to clear tree limbs down the long driveway. The RoseWater team figured it out and made it happen. Perhaps a bit more needs assessment up front on the logistics side would help. We would also have appreciated more precise instructions on preparing the concrete platform and mounting patterns for the anchor bolts. The templates we were sent were slightly off and we needed to improvise on site. For systems of this magnitude, site preparation before the equipment arrives is crucial. The same can be said for preparing front, top and rear access to the racks post-installation. Doors and hatches need to be built to allow future access.

Do you see the RoseWater HUB growing in importance to your business?

RG: Yes. I can confidently recommend RoseWater HUB to any home owner who has issues with power consistency and quality.

Will you recommend the RoseWater product to other customers and to other CEDIA members?

RG: Yes, absolutely. It is an expensive, design intensive undertaking but well worth the effort long-term.

Letter from the CEO

Article #5

 

In this latest ‘Letter from the CEO,’ I want to provoke a discussion on power quality. First, I want to break down the various aspects of power quality and define it, then give you a look into the causes of power quality problems and the consequences of those problems.

 

Power quality problems can be broadly classified into the following categories:

 

Voltage sags: A decrease in the normal voltage level, for durations of 0.5 cycle to 1 minute.

Causes:

-          Faults on the transmission or distribution network.

-          Faults in consumer’s installation.

-          Connection of heavy loads and start-up of large motors.

Consequences:

-          Malfunction of microprocessor-based control systems that may lead to a process stoppage.

 

Micro-interruptions: Total interruption of electrical supply for duration ranging from a few milliseconds to one or two seconds.

 

Causes:

-          Opening and automatic re-closure of protection devices.

-          Insulation failure, lightning and insulator flashover.

Consequences:

-          Tripping of protection devices.

-          Loss of information and malfunction of data processing equipment.

-          Stoppage of sensitive equipment (such as ASDs (adjustable speed drives), PCs, PLCs (programmable logic controller).

 

Long interruptions: Total interruption of electrical supply for a duration greater than one to two seconds.

Causes:

-          Equipment failure in the power system network.

-          Storms and objects (trees, cars, etc.) striking lines or poles, fire.

-          Human error, bad coordination or failure of protection devices.

Consequences:

-          Stoppage of all equipment.

 

Voltage spikes: Very fast variation of the voltage value for durations ranging from several microseconds to few milliseconds.

Causes:

-          Lightning.

-          Switching of lines or power factor correction capacitors.

-          Disconnection of heavy loads.

Consequences:

-          Destruction of components and insulation materials.

Data processing errors or data loss.

-          Electromagnetic interference.

 

Voltage swells: Momentary increase of the voltage that is outside the normal tolerances with duration lasting for more than one cycle and typically less than a few seconds.

Causes:

-          Start/stop of heavy loads.

-          Poorly dimensioned power sources.

-          Poorly regulated transformers.

Consequences:

-          Flickering of lighting and screens.

-          Damage or stoppage of sensitive equipment.

 

Harmonic distortion: Known as the most complex power quality problem. Voltage or current waveforms assume non-sinusoidal shape.

Causes:

                Classic sources:

-          Electric machines working above the knee of the magnetization curve (magnetic saturation), arc furnaces, welding machines, rectifiers, and DC brush motors.

Modern sources:

-          All non-linear loads, such as power electronics equipment including ASDs, switched mode power supplies, data processing equipment, high efficiency lighting.

Consequences:

-          Increased probability of occurrence of resonance.

-          Nuisance tripping of thermal protections.

-          Electromagnetic interference.

-          Increase in the losses.

-          Loss of efficiency in electric machines (e.g. 5th harmonic).

 

 

 

 

Now, with a better understanding of the many issues that disturb power quality – Does it really matter?

 

For those with a lighting control system or whole house automation, both of which frequently have to be serviced because of a power problem, the answer is clearly yes. If you have a home office that relies on digital data stored on servers, the answer is clearly yes. If you are concerned about home security, the answer is clearly yes. I have spoken with a fair number of system integrators, each of which have multiple stories about emergency truck rolls, to ensure their clients could control the lighting within their home. It’s certainly not a great use of time and, in most cases, it’s not billable.

 

With the proliferation of Internet based home devices, power quality issues will create many growing and ongoing problems.

 

Will power quality improve?

 

Personally, I don’t believe power quality will improve. Utilities have a difficult time building more power plants. The NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and the NOTE’s (Not Over There, Either) are making the permitting process increasingly difficult and time consuming. With the intermittent nature of renewable sources, the integration of those sources into the grid exacerbates power quality issues.

 

So what can be done?

 

It will become increasingly more imperative to include power conditioning and battery back up in equipment in every system you install. Depending on the complexity, size and sophistication of the system, you will have to determine whether to install the equipment at the device level, the rack level or the electrical panel level. You will also have to decide on the quality and ruggedness of the power quality equipment installed. The more “mission critical” the system, the more robust the power quality equipment should be. Whatever power quality equipment you choose to install, it should have the capability of informing you of its operating capability, such as battery life and the state of the surge protection as a start. This is especially important if you have installed multiple devices or rack level devices. It’s crucial to know if they are all in perfect working order. Look around, there are plenty of devices on the market. I would suggest that this is not the place to economize. Of course, I might not be totally objective.

         

 

 

 

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Considered 'the most intelligent residential energy solution on the market today', the RoseWater Energy Hub offers a more seamless, cost-effective total system integration solution, using a dual inverter system with solar input, that blends power conditioning, backup, and renewable energy management into one pre-assembled, configured and integrated platform; in essence transforming the electrical system in place into a self-sustaining microgrid.

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