Tetra West Technology
Tetra West Technology was established in 2006, based in Houston, Texas. Historically, our business has focused on providing design and sourcing services, specializing in the support of industrial, oil production and energy industries. In 2010, our work expanded to include product development, supplying structural aluminum, engineering design, and lighting systems for heliport construction, along with solar power systems.
In 2015, Tetra West expanded its offerings to include Mi-Grid, our hybrid renewable energy system.
Our Experienced Staff
Co-owner and President of Tetra West Technology, Solar and Power
James has over 30 years experience with General Electric (GE), Solar Turbines, and Cameron, on large and small gas turbines, combined cycle, and COGEN, reciprocating engines, compressors, control equipment, electrical systems, and solar equipment. His particular expertise includes system design, packaging, and instrumentation. He holds multiple patents with an additional 10 patents pending. He has earned Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Union College, and is a graduate of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Business Program.
Co-owner and Vice President of Tetra West Technology
Margarita is the co-founder of Tetra West Technology. She is an expert in the sourcing and exporting of industrial equipment and specialty metals. With over 25 years of experience, she has exported materials to Mexico and a number of other international locations. Margarita holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from University of Houston.
Jayne Tomlinson O’Brien
Vice President, Business Development, MI-GRID
Jayne retired as Director of Commercial Programs for an aerospace division of United Technologies (UTX) in 2012. With over 30 years of experience as a technical and business leader in the Aviation Power Systems industry, she brings functional, line, and executive leadership experience to MI-GRID. Jayne holds a BSME from University of Texas, a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Cincinnati, and a Master’s in Business Administration from San Diego State University.
Chief Consulting Engineer, Tetra West Technology
Leroy is a retired Senior Engineering Manager and former Chief Engineer at General Electric. He is an industry leader in combined cycle and system design with over 50 years of experience in the field. Holding almost 30 patents in the areas of combined cycle design and industrial gas turbine technology, he provides valuable technical oversight and product review. Tomlinson has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Mi-Grid work?
Mi-Grid is most similar to an Off-Grid solar energy system. It takes solar energy and makes DC power. It uses this power to run an inverter, making AC power, or store excess in batteries, or both.
How does Mi-Grid differ?
Mi-Grid also connects AC power from multiple sources, a generator and utility power even unreliable or intermittent sources. Instead of an oversized battery bank and solar array, it uses the generator as a backup. Mi-Grid is about half the cost of a similar off-grid solar system and uses 90% less fuel and run time versus a prime off-grid generator.
How is that different from regular solar on houses?
“Standard” solar energy systems installed on residential houses are usually called “Grid-Tied” or “Utility Connected”. They simply convert the DC power from the solar panel to AC power. It is directly connected to house power. They don’t store solar power. Either the solar power is used locally or it is sent to the utility. Mi-Grid doesn’t need to sell power to the utility. It can save all of the extra energy in the batteries to use later. If your utility does not offer net metering or pays less for your solar power than you pay them for electricity, you could save 30% more than if you sell your power.
What if the power goes out?
With standard grid-tied solar, if the utility system shuts down, so does the solar. This is for the user’s safety. Mi-Grid can operate independent from the utility. During the day, our systems are disconnected from the utility. You won’t even notice an outage. At night, Mi-Grid connects to utility power if the batteries are low. If the utility goes out, it automatically switches to the batteries. With the batteries low and the utility out, the generator automatically starts. The generator supplies power and recharges the batteries. Once the batteries are charged, the generator shuts off. On a stormy day, with the utility out and no sun, the generator will cycle a few times.
If your utility offers net-metering, Mi-Grid keeps the batteries full at all times as backup power and sells your excess power to your utility.
How does Mi-Grid compare to a generator?
Normal generators run continuously when the power is out, using lots of fuel and making noise. Plus, most backup generators require maintenance after as little as 100 hours, 50 hours for those cheap gasoline generators. In an extended outage, that is changing the oil every four days! Even without solar, Mi-Grid can reduce fuel consumption by 50%. It does this by running the generator at a higher load for a shorter time and storing the extra energy in the batteries, switching to inverter when full. Add in the solar panels and Mi-Grid may use no fuel at all. It averages out to a 90% reduction in fuel and 90% less run time, saving operation, maintenance and generator life. Mi-Grid keeps the power on. Never lose power.
It is more expensive than a standard grid-tied solar system. But that cost can be mitigated by only powering outlets and lights from the inverter. A large generator can be intermittently run to provide for the high demand appliances and air conditioners. There are systems for any budget.
For off-grid applications, Mi-Grid is half the cost of a standalone solar energy system and more reliable. And with 90% less run-time than a prime generator, the savings can pay for the system very quickly, depending on your usage.