Polaris is the leader in connecting agricultural customers with energy market incentives and revenue that automates irrigation control and provides operational visibility. The company manages a network of 400+ irrigation and water conveyance pumps--connected in the field to Polaris Pump Automation Controllers (PAC) gateways--that represent 65 MW (86,000 HP) of peak demand.
Polaris’ platform is hardened, robust technology, proven over a decade of operations in remote, low-bandwidth environments. Compatibility with most sensors, apps to optimize pump scheduling for energy prices & DR events, remote pump control and network management, and integrations with CRM, Green Button, OpenADR and Irrigation Management systems provide a complete water-energy monitoring and control platform that addresses farmers' challenges, gives utilities access to flexible load, and energy technology vendors last-mile connectivity and vertical-specific functionality for agriculture.
- Polaris Pump Automation Controller (PAC)
The PAC is designed and manufactured for high-reliability, remote monitoring and control of pumps and a wide range of sensors, including flow, pressure, depth and soil moisture. It offers the greatest flexibility on the market for electrical inputs and outputs, from 12VDC to 600VAC, and communications, all common analog and digital protocols.
The PAC connects to the Polaris cloud via cell or satellite networks and directly to utility DER Management Systems using the OpenADR protocol. Communications are efficiently optimized for low-bandwidth environments and the onboard processor and memory enable continued operation and enforcement of schedules and logic if the network connection is lost.
- Polaris Network Operating Center (NOC)
The NOC platform controls and monitors Polaris’ network of PACs in the field, monitors utility interfaces for Demand Response dispatches and delivers IoT data and commands to and from Polaris’ Azure platform and third party integrations. During DR events the NOC monitors performance of assets on the network and resets to normal operations at their conclusion.
Built on a .NET code base that has evolved and has been tested over two decades, Polaris’ NOC platform is highly reliable and efficient in remote telemetry with command and control--IoT before it was IoT. The NOC software is built in MS Visual Studio using C# and is tested to 20,000 simultaneous transactions to SQL Server upon demand and 20,000+ simultaneous cell transactions for very low latency communications.
- Azure Implementation
To exploit the data coming from PACs, combine it with external data sources, and manage a growing number of integrations with third party systems while ensuring that NOC resources are dedicated to real-time monitoring and control, Polaris implemented an Azure cloud solution. This highly scalable solution enables rapid growth in the number of pumps and associated systems on the network and the value that can be provided to their owners.
Originally developed ‘by engineers for engineers,’ MyPolaris enables full network management anywhere and is the backbone for field deployment and operations. Hosted on Azure, the web tools are upgraded to the Ionic Framework, seamlessly providing web and mobile versions.
For customers, the MyPolaris app provides geographic and textual management of portfolios of pumps, remote control, energy-aware scheduling and DR participation management.
- Third-party integrations
Polaris has developed a number of integrations to scale operation of a large portfolio of customer endpoints, take advantage of energy market opportunities, and derive value from combining device data with external data sets.
A fundamental understanding driving Polaris’ technology development is that Ag customers require simplicity and that means that they want fewer, not more applications to look at. With energy as a key input and cost driver but not the focus of daily operations, Polaris’ platform is built to work with farmers’ primary tools, such as Farm and Irrigation Management Systems.
Tight integration with Salesforce provides visibility and straightforward management of customer data, service tickets and bridges financial and operational data silos.
- Demand Response Management Systems
Polaris has implemented the industry-standard OpenADR protocol for DR dispatches and price signals. Where not available, the platform processes other notification types, including email.
- Utility Data
Implementation of the Green Button standard provides access to both IoT (meter) and financial (billing) data from electrical utilities; where that is not available, the application supports processing of CSVs and other raw data files.
- Energy Trading
With the rapid growth of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), microgrids and the advent of blockchain, energy trading by consumers and producers of power is emerging as the key to integrating renewables and managing a dynamic grid. Under a CEC grant, Polaris is piloting Transactive Energy, receiving pricing from and executing transactions with TeMix’s RATES system while enabling users to schedule pumping operations to take advantage of low prices and revenue opportunities while avoiding high-priced hours.
- Irrigation Management
Farmers are adopting automation and sensors to improve yields and reduce costs. Polaris integrates with these technologies in two ways:
- For Irrigation Management Systems with field gateways and controllers, Polaris provides energy revenue opportunities and savings without duplication of hardware with cloud-to-cloud integrations.
- Polaris’ PAC and cloud can serve as the SCADA backbone for a variety of technologies.
- Data Visualization and Analytics
Using Tableau and PowerBI, Polaris has built powerful tools to combine, visualize and draw insights from device, meter, billing, operational and customer data. These tools automatically identify savings and revenue opportunities for customers and alert on data quality issues. Polaris tools process data on approximately 15% of California’s agricultural load, enabling the characterization and quantification of pump operations on a large scale, supporting the company’s R&D efforts to develop new programs and market structures for agricultural load management.
- Rate Optimization
Polaris’ IoT strengths are leveraged by partners to provide additional services, such as utility rate and tariff analysis and automated pump efficiency testing.