The software and technology guiding energy procurement and grid operation have always been complex investments. And the landscape has been adapting to new complexity – leveraging distributed energy resources.

California's demand response auction mechanism (DRAM) and New York's Brooklyn Queens demand management auction (BQDM) provide examples of how vendors are helping to address these challenges.

Here, GTM Research grid edge and storage analysts provide insight into lesser-known vendors who won bids in these programs and how they plan to integrate DERs.

FIGURE: Grid Edge DER Services Deployments by ConEdison, SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E, 2016

1. Swell

Committed

Ford Plans $1 Billion Artificial Intelligence Investment to Assist Its Self-Driving Car Plans

New York Times: Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence Start-Up

One of the oldest automakers in the United States is making a billion-dollar bet that one day, owning a car may not be a necessity of American life.

Ford Motor announced on Friday its plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence start-up formed in December that is focused on developing autonomous vehicle technology.

The move is Ford’s biggest effort to move into self-driving car research. Argo AI will develop the technology exclusively for Ford at first, and then plans to license its

Who Is Narada Power? Under-the-Radar Chinese Storage Company Sets Sights on Global Expansion

Zhejiang Narada Power Source Co, an under-the-radar Chinese energy storage giant, is gearing up for international expansion after emerging from the shadows last month.

The January announcement of China’s first commercial energy storage project -- a 1.5-megawatt, 12-megawatt-hour battery project for GCL Silicon, a solar-cell polysilicon maker -- was the first time many international observers had heard of Narada.

Despite being relatively unknown outside China, Hangzhou-based Narada claims to have almost 306 megawatt-hours of storage deployed worldwide and 800 megawatt-hours in its contract pipeline.

China is by far Narada’s largest market, accounting for 300 megawatt-hours of capacity installed so far. Elsewhere, the company has

Last year was a good one for U.S. community solar. Utilities and third-party developers completed 343 megawatts of projects, a strong increase from the 125 megawatts completed in 2015.

By 2019, the yearly market will reach half a gigawatt. That means one-fifth of all non-residential installations will be community solar projects. 

But look behind the numbers and you’ll quickly see that the market for shared solar projects is incredibly lumpy. The complexity of program design, project structure, and customer acquisition make community projects hard to complete. In this week's podcast, we’re going to unwind that complexity ask if community solar will ever scale in a sustainable

Barry Cinnamon wanted to illustrate how a small residential solar installer could profit while selling $2.00-per-watt solar. But he couldn't make the numbers work at $2.00.

So, his presentation became, "What Happens When Home Solar Costs are $2.50 per Watt?" when he spoke at the IEEE PV chapter in Palo Alto, Calif. last week. Cinnamon has worked in the solar installer long tail most all of his solar professional life.

Not long ago, the residential installer industry was dominated by small shops, many of which had converted existing business like home improvement or roofing to focus on the emerging field. But, the advent of new

About a year ago, First Solar announced that it was making a fundamental change in the architecture of the big solar power plants it builds and operates by moving from a conventional string architecture to a medium-voltage DC (MVDC) scheme.

GTM has now learned from several sources that First Solar has indefinitely postponed that transition, and First Solar CTO Raffi Garabedian has confirmed.

Garabedian told GTM, "We’ve postponed MVDC indefinitely given the increased competition and margin compression we’re seeing in central and string inverters. We still believe that the MVDC architecture has a substantial system-level cost entitlement, but we’re waiting for conventional inverter prices to

Subaru Is the Latest Automaker to Start Testing Autonomous Cars in California

Engadget: Subaru Secures Permit to Test Self-Driving Car in California

The list of automakers that can test their self-driving cars in California is getting less and less exclusive by the minute. Its latest addition? Subaru. The Japanese company has secured an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the state's DMV on February 9th, bringing the total number to 22. Some Subaru models already have assisted driving features thanks to their camera-based Eyesight system, such as adaptive cruise control, sway warning and pre-collision braking.

The Motley Fool: In Case You Missed It, This Hasn't Happened in the Solar Industry in 16 Years

The solar industry has

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