Beginning this year, a startup promising to create a chain of full-service electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging centers across California plans to equip those centers with control technology to manage the energy resources and, in essence, create microgrids at each site.
Rove plans to begin opening its multi-purpose EV charging centers sometime in 2023 and reach 20 such facilities by 2026, according to the company’s website. Rove will partner with grid controls provider PXiSE Energy Solutions to equip sites with the latter’s microgrid controller.
The PXiSE systems will manage power delivery across multiple resources, from dozens of Level 3 fast chargers to the on-site solar and battery storage systems planned at the various Rove centers. The centers seek not only to reduce the time of charge, but also create comfortable stops where drivers and passengers can rest, check emails, enjoy refreshments, buy groceries, walk their dog and even wash the vehicle.
Having a cohesive, responsive microgrid control system can empower and balance all of those loads with the renewable and energy storage components.
“These kinds of collaborations where PXiSE’s easily configurable products are adopted and implemented by clean energy developers such as Rove, are where we see huge potential,” PXiSE CEO Tim Allen said. “They can eliminate a lot of complexity in managing multiple distributed energy resources at a single site.”
Rove was created in 2021 by co-founder and CEO Nathan McDonnell, a longtime construction contractor and renewable energy developer, along with Jeff Toon, chief development officer; Michael Lumbley, a former oil and gas industry executive who shifted into clean energy goals; and Scott Deatherage, chief legal officer.
Private investment firm Newlight Partners joined in support of the startup two years ago. The Rove Board of Directors is chaired by William Reid, an investor and also CEO of independent producer Agate Power.
PXiSE (pronounced “Pice”) has tested its controller in working with fleet electrification in another project along the eastern U.S. coast. The project with Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority utilized the technology guided a solar-storage system to improve energy resiliency for customers as well as take advantage of demand response and load shifting opportunities when needed.
In California, the company’s technology will also allow the Rove centers to island from the main grid when necessary or desired, providing for secure EV charging even during periods of grid outages.
“We’re thankful for the team at PXiSE and their commitment to helping us build a better EV charging experience in Southern California,” McDonnell said. “This advanced controller will allow us to better leverage renewable energy from the California grid and Rove’s onsite solar to provide more affordable, sustainable, and reliable charging to Rove customers.”
The PXiSE microgrid controller will be deployed at multiple Rove centers across California in the beginning. Rove plans to open sites in cities such as Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Long Beach, among others.
The PXiSE control system also will act as the point of interconnect with the utility grid, working to balance resources and achieve a net-zero emissions profile, according to reports.