Funds for Microgrid Startups…JLM secures $25M…Making Solar Cybersecure

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Funding for NYC microgrid startups

New York’s Urban Future Lab is now offering $50,000 awards plus incubation guidance for microgrid startups and other smart grid entrepreneurial efforts.

Sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the clean tech incubation program helps scale new technologies.

Called the Urban Future Competition, the program offers incubation awards under three tracks: smart grid, smart mobility and smart city.

Microgrid startups have the opportunity to secure awards through the program’s smart grid track, which also seeks technologies related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and distributed generation.

The smart mobility track seeks technology related to electric vehicles (EVs) and EV infrastructure solutions, high performance and low carbon vehicle materials, autonomous vehicle technology and mobility artificial intelligence, digital tools and similar solutions.

The smart city track applies to businesses working in urban infrastructure and resiliency, Internet of Things, sensor networks, analytics, and similar technology.

In addition to the cash awards, winners have the opportunity to scale their businesses within ACRE, New York’s longest running cleantech incubator program, which has helped companies raise more than $340 million.

The Urban Future Competition is accepting applications until December 1. For more information and to apply, see

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JLM Energy secures $25M in project finance

JLM Energy secured $25 million to finance distributed energy storage projects for commercial & industrial (C&I) customers.

Arranged by GoldenSet Capital Partners as subadvisor to the North Sky Alliance Fund II, the funding will be used to finance energy services and accelerate adoption of JLM’s distributed energy storage platform Phazr.

The facility is expected to be fully committed by Q3 of 2018.

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CohnReznick Capital was the advisor to JLM Energy in this transaction.

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National lab tackles solar inverter cybersecurity

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is working on a project to make solar inverters more cybersecure using a blocking method analogous to how noise-canceling headphones work.

Under a $2.5 million Department of Energy grant, researchers are developing algorithms that use the system in the same way as hackers, but send opposite signals to nullify the attack, according to a news release issued by the Berkeley Lab.

“If an attacker tries to manipulate the settings in a number of PV inverters, we’ll observe these manipulations, then identify the settings in PV inverters that have not been hacked, and finally, dispatch the appropriate settings to the inverters deemed safe in order to counter that attack,” said Daniel Arnold, a Berkeley Lab researcher and engineer who is one of the leads of the project.

The lab is concerned about cyber vulnerabilities that might arise as industry and government develop standards for inverter communication with the grid.

“It is this standardization that presents a vulnerability,” said Arnold.

Berkeley Lab is teaming with several partners on this project, including Siemens, OSISoft, SunSpec Alliance, SolarEdge, HDPV Alliance, Power Standards Lab, Arizona State University, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

“As we modernize the grid, our belief is that we, as a society, can enjoy all of the benefits of large amounts of distributed PV, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a more resilient system, and still have a secure network that is potentially more robust to cyber intrusions than it was before the introduction of large amounts of distributed PV,” Arnold said.

[clickToTweet tweet=”National lab tackles #solar inverter #cybersecurity” quote=”National lab tackles solar inverter cybersecurity”]

Track news about microgrid startups, financing and cybersecurity. Follow Microgrid Knowledge on twitter @MicrogridNews .

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.