Project partners have announced completion of a new microgrid at the North American headquarters of energy management and automation company Schneider Electric.
Located at the company’s Boston One Campus (BOC) in Andover, Mass., the microgrid was built by Schneider Electric and REC Solar, a subsidiary of Duke Energy Renewables and provider of commercial solar and energy solutions. Duke Energy Renewables, which owns a majority interest in REC Solar, owns the microgrid system and solar array and is selling the power to Schneider Electric through a long-term power purchase agreement.
“The integration of an advanced microgrid at the Schneider Electric campus reduces its energy costs, incorporates more sustainable energy and delivers demand-side efficiency, while also offering resiliency to the facility in the event of a loss of power from the grid,” says Chris Fallon, vice president of Duke Energy Renewables. “Additionally, in partnership with Schneider, we can research and develop new microgrid technologies, solutions and applications in a real-world environment.”
The microgrid is expected to generate more than 520,000 kWh of electricity per year. It includes a 354 kW AC solar array with 1,379 solar modules that power the system. The microgrid also incorporates a natural gas generator as an anchor resource, allowing the solar panels to operate during grid outages to maintain critical operations.
“With the growth in the availability of affordable renewable energy and other distributed energy resources, energy consumers are more empowered than ever to use microgrids to generate and manage their consumption through active involvement in the market,” says Schneider Electric’s Mark Feasel. “Schneider Electric used this model at BOC to build an advanced microgrid that reduces costs, incorporates more sustainable energy and takes control of its energy future. It will also be a living laboratory at our North American R&D hub, driving global innovation in energy storage and distributed energy resource management solutions.”
In addition to the BOC site, Duke Energy Renewables, Schneider Electric and REC Solar have a second microgrid project under way for the Montgomery County, Md., Public Safety Headquarters and Correctional Facility.
Duke Energy Renewables will own the two Montgomery County microgrids, which will consist of a 2 MW AC solar project and two combined heat and power (CHP) units. The CHP systems will save energy by using waste heat from on-site power generation to heat and cool the buildings. In addition, “island mode” capabilities of the microgrids will allow continued operation of Montgomery County’s critical facilities for extended periods during power outages.
REC Solar will build and operate the solar facility, and Schneider Electric will design and implement the microgrid project, which is expected to become fully operational in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Schneider Electric