In my wanderings for Forbes.com in the energy start-up world over the past three years, I have had the privilege of conversing with some highly intelligent and out-of-the box thinkers. Ryan Wartena, CEO and Co-Founder of Geli (Growing Energy Labs Inc), a software company in the emerging smart grid space, climbs right up to the top of the list. With a degree in chemical engineering and a post-doctorate at MIT, he may not be your typical CEO. He’s certainly one of only a few who would characterize the emerging internet of energy as “the world’s largest art installation project” or who purposely looks for “elegance” in the design and deployment of renewable and sustainable energy systems.
According to its website, Geli “provides software and business solutions to design, connect, and operate energy storage and microgrid systems.” Its goal is to create “an ecosystem where project developers, OEMs, financiers, and project operators can deploy advanced energy projects using a seamless hardware-agnostic software platform.”
In other words, the company exists to allow individuals to more quickly integrate various elements – such as batteries and distributed energy resources including on-site solar – into microgrids and balance their operations with demand-side assets that consume energy. In order to make this work, each piece of equipment in that ecosystem must have its own drivers that enable the interface and integration into the larger ecosystem. Every piece of the puzzle needs to be able to talk to the other pieces, so that the whole comes together in a coherent fashion.