Nextek's Partnership with IEEE Smart Village program to provide power to underserved parts of the World

Since 2010, Nextek has been partnered with IEEE to distribute electricity in the form of our SunBlazer trailers, through both the IEEE Community Solutions Initiative and currently through the IEEE Smart Village Program.  Recently, several companies and foundations have shown support for these initiatives. In fact, this past April, Nextek CEO, Paul Savage, made a presentation on behalf of the IEEE during the Bloomberg Energy Finance Summit’s Finance for Resilience initiative.  In his presentation, entitled "Scalable and Standards-Based DC Microgrids,” he discussed the importance of imparting microgrid technology in underserved parts of the world, as well as explained the current state of developing standards for this technology.  The presentation was extremely well received, and opened new dialogues between Nextek and other parties interested in promoting the growth of these initiatives.



Nextek CEO Paul Savage to present at IEEE PES General Meeting on Wednesday July 29, 2015

Paul Savage will be a panelist at the IEEE PES General Meeting Super Session entitled "DC in an AC World" during the afternoon of Wednesday July 29th.  He will discussing the mission and work of the EMerge Alliance. Other topics up for discussioin during the super session include: HVDC Grids – The European Perspective; Solid State Transformers and How They Will Converge DC and AC Power Systems; Coordinating Control of AC and DC Microgrids; DC Lessons from the Data Center Power World; and DC Technology Advancements & Innovation.  The full schedule for the conference can be found here:

Nextek is thrilled to participate in this important conference, and share the relevance of the work being carried out by the EMerge Alliance.



EPA Administrator Visits Nextek and NextEnergy

On June 15, 2015 the United State's EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, toured the NextEnergy Campus, and visited with Nextek CEO, Kevin Howley, and Nextek Architect and Designer, Lisa Johnson. The purpose of her trip was to find new technologies to support the EPA's climate action plan. Nextek's team was proud to showcase our power server module's capabilities, and provide to Ms. McCarthy with an understanding of the impact that microgrids could have on meeting the EPA's goals as outlined in it's Clean Power Plan.  Nextek has a relevant product which has unlimited growth potential as the country heads towards a low carbon future.

You can view an article about the event here, on the CBS Detroit website.



Emerge Alliance and Nextek's DC House are the subject of an article in the Energy Design Update newsletter

In it's March 2015 newsletter, Energy Design Update featured an article highlighting the EMerge Alliance's vision of the future for household power in the United States.  The article also gives a detailed description  of Nextek's own DC House, showcasing the Detroit home as a prime example of the endless possibilities available through the implementation of DC power in domestic dwellings. Currently, EMerge Alliance's Residential Standard's Committee is proposing written standards for incorporating DC power into both existing homes as well as new construction.

The full article can be found here on the EMerge Alliance Website:

Think DC power is the future for your home? Contact us at for more information.




What's New In PSM Communication: The Newest & Most Exciting Release -- BACnet IP

While wireless controls may be suitable for many projects, it may not be the best solution for all situations. For those clients whose projects require wired communications, Nextek Power Systems has developed BACnet IP. Internally through each PSM the BACnet Server has been integrated onto a communication board, utilizing a Debian OS and support utilities.  Nextek has implemented an RJ45 connector into the housing which allows for the BACnet IP connection. This allows for seamless integration of all building automation systems with the security of a wired connection. The military industry absolutely loves this method of hardwired communication.

For further information regarding any of our products, please contact us at Nextek Power Systems, (313)887-1321 ext. 124



What's New in Wireless Communication Methods: 6LowPan

The next generation of wireless controls employed by Nextek Power Systems, 6LowPan, is produced by Aspen, Colorado based Amatis Controls. Utilizing their 6LowWireless™ technology, Nextek Power Systems is able to provide its clients with a cloud based wireless controls solution. With the addition of a router, motion and light sensors, and dimming switches, we can uniquely configure a controls solution for each individual client. The SKY family of controls includes the following:

Sky Bridge – router

Sky Command – 8 input switch interface

Sky Duet – 2-button switch for multiple device control

Sky Medley – 2 button switch and occupancy sensor

Sky Rise – dimmer

Sky Trio – 3-button switch

Sky Sense Motion and Light: occupancy and daylight sensor

For clients who choose 6LowPan, the system's Energy Dashboard gives them access to real-time data and graphing tools which allow them to monitor energy consumption, troubleshoot control issues, and regulate dimming and on/off functions.  The system is continuously collecting and storing data in the cloud. This data can be accessed anytime for analysis from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. In addition, 6LowPan can be connected to a BACnet system for complete management of a client's lighting, HVAC, fire/life safety, and other building automation systems.



What's New in PSM Communication Methods?

What’s New in PSM Communication Methods: The PS Manager Interface

Nextek Power Systems has utilized multiple methods to communicate with our Power Server Modules (PSM) over the years. When developing a lighting system for our clients, we include the communication method that best fits their needs. It's another example of the flexibility of the Nextek Power Systems DC lighting solution.

Our original method of communication is the PS Manager Interface which consists of a digi wireless communication module in a Zigbee USB dongle. Once the dongle is attached to any computer with a USB port, and the appropriate software (included with the purchase of a Nextek PSM) is loaded into a computer, the PS Manager is ready for wireless communication with any PSM within an RF line of sight range of 400ft.

The PS Manager technology was developed in-house by Nextek Power Systems engineers. It's open source software is available to be shared with any company or individual who believes they can improve the functionality of the PS Manager. This non- cloud based wireless technology is included with every PSM, and it's performance is optimized when utilizing a system with 5-10 PSMs, but has the capability of connecting 255 nodes.

With the local wireless control capabilities of the PS Manager, a client can power on or off all 16 channels of the PSM, as well access these features of the PS Manager:

  • Voltage

  • Current

  • Power

  • Energy meter

  • Graphing

  • Data Logging

  • Scheduler

Through the kiosk, the following status reports of energy consumption and overall functionality of the unit are also available:

  • PV Power

  • Utility Power, Load Power, and graphics for each

  • Event Logger for tracking errors

  • Solar power usage

Look for information on another generation of PSM communication in our next posting.



Meet One of our Premier Resellers: Sunshine Works

Sunshine Works is a thriving solar business located in Winchester Tennessee. Owned and operated by Ron, Pam, and Marc Castle,  they have been partners with us since 2009. They support the growth of all things solar powered, including solar panels, refrigeration, water pumps, and the Nextek Power Systems collection of ceiling fans.  The Castle family has been instrumental in getting our fans installed in applications all over the world. Through Sunshine Works, our fans have been purchased by customers in such exotic locations as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and most recently, the Galapagos Islands. Domestically, they have been installed in all corners of the United States.

The Sunshine Works store front in Winchester Tennessee. The Castle family truly enjoys educating their customers about solar power so they make the best decisions  with their investment. We are proud to have them as a reseller of our Vari-Cyclone and Vari-Fan DC powered Ceiling fans.

The Sunshine Works store front in Winchester Tennessee. The Castle family truly enjoys educating their customers about solar power so they make the best decisions  with their investment. We are proud to have them as a reseller of our Vari-Cyclone and Vari-Fan DC powered Ceiling fans.



Sunshine Works distributes our industrial inspired Vari-Cyclone Fan and our more traditionally styled Vari-Fan, as well as coordinating speed controllers.  Our Vari-Cyclone fans are the only DC powered fans which are allowed to use "Gossamer Wind Technology", which produces 40% more airflow without an increase in power consumption.



 When asked why he thinks our fans are so popular, Ron's response is, "They are terrific products, and our customers love them!" We take great pride in that fact, and must agree that our fans, manufactured in the USA, are extremely efficient and function reliably -- the proof is in the repeat business afforded to us over our 6 year partnership. They are the most efficient DC powered ceiling fans on the market.

We are proud to be working with such a successful company, whose vision to promote DC power is so clearly aligned with our own. You can find more information about Sunshine works at







Paul Savage Presents proposal to the Judges at Bloomberg New Energy Finance's FiRe Summit in New York

On April 15, 2015, Paul Savage, CEO of Nextek Power Systems and Chairman and Founding Governing member of the eMerge Alliance, presented our proposal, "Growing the Grid Around the Load: Open-Source Sunblazer Micro-Utilities Already Investible" to the distinguished panel of judges at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance's FiRe summit in New York City. His insightful presentation was well received by the audience. While the proposal, which was a joint effort between the IEEE and the eMerge alliance, was not a winner of the competition, it did gain great exsposure for the  the concept of our Sunblazer trailers.  There was much interest among the participants of the summit in seeing the expansion of the Sunblazer trailers deployment in global areas where they could have a great impact on the local economies and infrastructures. Many positive relationships were made at this summit, and we are encouraged that our Sunblazer trailers will be deployed throughout the world in the future.

You can view a clip of Mr. Savage's presentation here:



SUNBLAZER Proposal is a Finalist in FiRe Competition

    We are pleased to announce that our proposal, “Growing the Grid Around the Load: Open-Source Sunblazer Micro-Utilities Already Investible”, created jointly by the IEEE and the Emerge Alliance, has been chosen as a finalist for Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s “Finance for Resilience”  (FiRe) platform, 2015! You can view the announcement here:

     The team behind the proposal is comprised of Ray Larsen, Paul Savage, Robin Podmore, Michael Wilson, Wayne Gutschow, Dan Wessner, Patrick Lee, and Lela Jgerenaia.  Together they are proposing a large scale deployment of our “SunBlazer Trailer” technology as a method of creating connectable, scalable, DC microgrids that leverage new standards to advance deeper penetration of electrical goods, electronically controlled devices, and communications access for Less Developed Country (LDC) community-based solutions to poverty and human capacity.

     The World Bank estimates 1.2 Billiion people have zero access to electricity. Moreover, many LDCs have minimal to zero natural resources.  This means that many power plants rely almost entirely on imported fossil fuels. This creates energy access for only the wealthy. It also perpetuates the reliance on nonrenewable resources with added transportation costs. While this problem is global, it is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa and India, two key partners of Smart Villages. Our goal with FiRe is to reach 500 million people with basic electricity and access to a development education platform by 2025. This is an integrated goal that increases tenfold IEEE-Smart Villages’ collaborative partnership.

     With open-source mechanical plans, and robust electronic designs, this Intervention leverages two trends: one is the “SunBlazer DC Microgrid” operating in Haiti and across four countries in Africa, and the other is new global DC power standards that promote parts commonality and interoperability across all systems, stationary and mobile, isolated or grid connected. This intervention will further develop it’s proven innovation that brings with it distributed economic development in the form of light industrial manufacturing and services, as well as the retail leasing of Portable Battery Kits (PBKs)

     Deployable in months and modular in nature, each solar–fed charging station serves 80 PBKs that bring up to three days of light and cell phone charging to the customer. Inspiring results from this designand deployment have been delivered by experts from IEEE’s 400,00 members in 140 countries, recently attracting support as a Signature Program of the IEEE Foundation.  The Smart Village program sustains the solar-fed-power with a local franchise model, growing community based entrepeneurs necessary for the business model, and its assets’ security, with a sustainable development educational platform.

     On April 15, the team will travel to New York City, and make a live presentation of our proposal to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance panel.  If selected, we will be able to acquire the growth capital necessary for financing this proven business model as a solution to this pernicious problem. In addition, this award will allow us to build awareness and engagement with the BNEF universe of stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, energy companies, investors, and regulators, regarding the benefits of DC power standards and systems.  In short, it will allow us to make use of our innovative “SunBlazer Trailers” to promote energy resilience!



Stony Brook Statesman Also Picks up Nextek STAR Story

The State University of New York at Stony Brook has followed the lead of the university's TV broadcast and, and has picked up the story of how Nextek Power System's STAR portable solar panel has been configured to provide power for Dr. Brooke Ellison. The Stony Brook professor was injured in an accident as a child, and needs a ventilator to breathe. The STAR provides backup power if her main power systems ever go out.

The complete story is available on the Statesman web site.



Stony Brook News Picks Up Nextek's Solar Panel Success

The story about how State University of New York at Stony Brook Professor Brooke Ellison has come to rely on Nextek Power System's STAR mobile solar panel to help power her ventilator, has now been featured on Stony Brook News, a student-run journalism project.

Dr. Ellison, paralyzed by a car accident in childhood, is the Director of Education and Ethics at Stony Brook University’s Stem Cell Research Facility and Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development. She is allowing scientists to field-test the STAR at her home.