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“Entrepreneurs in agriculture and horticulture really understand what we do”

No feed-in costs, and profit with energy optimization

The greater the energy use, the more profit is there to be gained from optimization. This is the idea that led to the founding of EnLimit Energy Management Solutions. The company has been officially on the market since this spring; since then, the software developed in Roosendaal has been running at several locations, including a strawberry grower.

The basic product is the Energy Management System, which ensures that all energy systems at companies communicate smartly with each other. This makes optimization possible. The idea for the system came about when Jan Staff, co-founder of the still-young company, came across a problem while carrying out his usual work in the construction and installation sector.

"A regular customer wanted to stop using gas in a building. Solar panels and a battery, among other things, were already there. The electricity connection turned out to be too small for a heat pump or for charging stations. Therefore, something had to be devised to allow all the separate pieces of the puzzle to work well together."

Acquaintances of Jan have an IT company, and this issue came up while installing the heat pump. Together, the entrepreneurs founded EnLimit in April 2023. "At that time, we ourselves had tested our idea extensively. After six months, we had seen enough. It worked."

Jan at GrootGroenPlus 2023

From utility to horticulture
So the origins of the company go back to a utility problem, but this fall, Jan attended a horticulture fair, GrootGroenPlus, in Zundert. "We target SMEs, as well as the agriculture and horticulture sector. In agriculture and horticulture, we find that entrepreneurs really understand what we do because they have been optimizing their business and processes for years. In other sectors, people sometimes still find this a bit more difficult."

With the Energy Management System as its basis, EnLimit provides customized solutions. "That's our specialty." The system monitors usage. With the data it generates, which incidentally always remains the customer's, it is possible to start optimizing, according to Jan. "You can switch off PV systems at negative tariffs, charge forklifts with excess solar energy, and at the right times, fully charge and also discharge batteries. We hear from business owners that they still often spend all day on their phones checking rates and graphs. We take that out of the hands of entrepreneurs without them having to give up everything. Non-automated decision-making always remains possible."

Preventing feed-in costs
Dynamic control is the key concept. In a horticultural context, for example, the algorithms can determine when the CHP should or should not run. Such a CHP involves slightly more complex processes than controlling solar panels, for example. "For CHP, we also look at gas tariffs and working with the climate computer. It's different with solar panels. With those, it's often more of a hard-on or off situation."

The software company has developed the EnLimit SmartStopper for this purpose. It is a standalone piece of software that allows business owners to avoid paying feed-in tariffs for self-generated electricity. "This is increasingly the case these days. This year, already more than 200 hours. By 2026, it is expected to be 900 hours. The EnLimit SmartStopper works without an Internet connection, making it ideal for the control of solar panel fields, for example. It works with a mobile 4G connection."

Dynamic control
The Energy Management System also makes it possible to control feed-in dynamically. "Whenever the prices require it, we control the panels so that they generate purely for own consumption." To do this, the system communicates, among other things, with the inverter. "It differs with every brand. We are bound to the communication possibilities that systems offer. In horticulture, we haven't come across anything we can't do. At most, we will have to make some adjustments."

Dashboard display of project in Meerle. For a larger view and more images, click here.

Link to the imbalance market
Before EnLimit writes any software, they always first pay an on-site visit. Jan and his team did just that at a strawberry grower in Meerle, Belgium, where they managed to link solar panels and two CHP plants, one of which was at an external location, to the Belgian imbalance market using the Energy Management System.

Jan explained the project in detail. "For the CHPs, a start and stop rate is provided. These tariffs can be set by the customer to determine when the CHP should start or stop. A 30-minute anti-pendulum protection is built in so that the CHP should continue to run for at least 30 minutes after starting up before stopping again. This takes into account control via the external horticultural computer."

For the PV system, the feed-in of power to the grid automatically stops when the imbalance rates go negative. Through the connection to the customer's Janitza UMG 604-PRO, the main connection is monitored at 10,000V. "In this way, all the supply and consumption of power is transparent," he said.

For more information:
Jan Staff
EnLimit Energy Management Solutions
Tussenriemer 23
4704 RT, Roosendaal
Tel.: +31 (0) 165 820 410
[email protected]

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