When the first Ford model T rolled off the production line in 1908, it didn’t have cupholders. Ford’s idea was simplicity of design. This method enabled quick and therefore low-cost production, which in turn allowed millions of people to become first-time car owners. It wasn’t until 45 years later in 1953 that the vehicle cupholder was patented. Lifestyles have change significantly since then, with consumer expectations of convenience and comfort a key purchase motivator. In fact, Subaru has announced a vehicle with no fewer than 19 beverage storage locations!
Like cars, microgrids and hybrid energy systems are complex machines that will affect human behavior. New dynamics are at play and new feedback loops are being created. DER and microgrid project developers typically prefer simplicity of design to serve straightforward functions. But could they be leaving value on the table? Or potentially risking becoming irrelevant? In this way, the humble cupholder offers a glimpse into the future of energy.
By way of analogy, how many cupholders should your project have? Before you answer, get in touch with ProtoGen to explore the possibilities. We’ve developed a deeply knowledgeable and practical approach to DER development by researching and engaging with technologies, workforce and market structures and policies.