Reviewing a Nascent Industry


About The Course

This course will provide a detailed analysis of Utility and Community Scale Energy Storage (U&CES) Systems. Beginning with an overview of the current available technologies the course will present the elements of U&CES with a focus on the benefits to Utilities as well as the advantages of energy storage for Commercial and Industrial energy users.


Issues to be covered include: Storage system design, battery applications, component specification and installation, integration of storage with Renewable Energy (RE) systems, multiple presentations of specific manufacturers of storage systems, O&M issues, available industry resources for ongoing education and the development of individual projects.

Key Learnings

This course will allow participants to gain practical and theoretical knowledge about U&CES systems with a focus on real-world applications and current working examples of the various technologies.

Participants in this course will upon completion of this course, be able to:

  • Define & explain how Utility and Community Scale Energy Storage (U&CES) operates and the benefits of these systems.
  • Describe and identify components and specifications of a U&CES system
  • Identify the best application and limitations of each system type
  • Calculate U&CES system costs
  • Describe financial benefits of U&CES systems
  • Correctly size a U&CES system
  • Recommend a U&CES system type to meet a Utility administrator’s or business owner’s goals
  • Identify and describe different U&CES system types, their storage capabilities and the systems
  • Explain data analysis, connection scheme, control algorithm and power system study for U&CES
  • Explain and safety issues with U&CES system
  • Define commissioning, operation and maintenance procedures for U&CES systems
  • Demonstrate proper safety procedures when installing a U&CES systems
  • Explain various policy, methodologies and utility-sided business model for implementation of U&CES systems

Who Should Attend

  • Project developers and administrators
  • Investors
  • EPCs
  • Project managers
  • Installers
  • Designers
  • Government policy makers

Course Faculty - Christopher LaForge

IREC Certified Master Trainer
– Photovoltaic Technologies

Christopher LaForge

Christopher LaForge is the CEO of Great Northern Solar and is a NABCEP certified Photovoltaic Installation Professional. He has been an instructor with the Midwest Renewable Energy Institute since 1993 Teaching advanced Photovoltaic (PV) design and installation and is an IREC Certified Master Trainer (TM) in Photovoltaic Technologies. Christopher was the primary curriculum developer for the MREI Photovoltaic courses at the Institutes inception.


A strong advocate for clean energy production Christopher volunteers with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (board of directors member 2004-2014, Chair of the Nominations Committee-current) and with the Northern Futures Foundation.

Christopher LaForge has been designing, specifying, installing and operating Battery based Solar Electric systems (PV) for over 30 years.  LaForge has lived “off-Grid” for over 26 years where he runs his business Great Northern Solar.


LaForge has been training contractors, administrators and officials in the operation of PV systems including those employing storage for over 26 years.  In the last 5 years LaForge has been investigating and developing trainings for the application of energy storage in commercial and other large applications.


With the development of Lithium Ion and other advanced battery technologies LaForge has begun to consult and present trainings in battery design and deployment for the commercial market.


In 2016 LaForge developed a hands-on seminar for retrofitting a LiOn storage and energy arbitrage system for a commercial building in Duluth Minnesota.  The Hartley Solar Storage Retrofit Seminar walked participants through the design and implementation of the advanced storage system to provide for building resiliency and peak demand load shaving as well and potential other ancillary services for the Hartley Nature Center and Minnesota Power – the site Utility.


This small prototype is beta-testing Energy Arbitrage software that allows the client to choose several operational modes for cost reduction and resiliency.


Most recently LaForge presented “Energy Storage into Renewable Energy Systems” for the North Central Electrical League in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area of Minnesota.


Define & explain how Utility and Community Scale Energy Storage (U&CES) operates and the benefits of these systems

Identify the best application and limitations of each system type 

U&CES range of applications

Calculate U&CES system costs

Identify and describe different U&CES system types and Manufacturers, their storage capabilities and the systems

Data collection and analysis, connection scheme, control algorithm and power system study for U&CES

Safety issues with U&CES systems

This training course has a limited attendance for up to 20 participants only. Sessions commence at 9am on all days, with short intervals at 10.30am and 3.30pm respectively. Refreshments will be provided in the short intervals. Lunch will be provided at 12:30pm for 1 hour. Sessions will end at 5pm on all days.

Unique Features with powerEDGE Training

• Pre-Course Questionnaire to help us focus on your learning objectives
• Detailed Course & Reference Manual for Continuous Learning and Sharing
• Practical Exercises & Case Examples to better understand the principles
• Limited class size to ensure One-to-One Interactivity
• Assessment at the end of the course to help you develop a Personal Action Plan