Several ‘first’ achieved in this New York City apartment microgrid project

Construction work has begun on Demand Energy‘s renewable-energy-plus-storage microgrid at Marcus Garvey Village, a mixed-income apartment complex in New York City owned by L+M Development Partners. This will be the first lithium-ion battery-based microgrid in the city.

new york city microgrid

Firsts!

The project achieves several significant milestones for New York City’s power grid:

– First lithium-ion batteries approved for use in a behind-the-meter multi-family building application
– First renewable-energy-plus-storage microgrid in an affordable housing development
– First microgrid deployed under Con Edison’s Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management Program

“We’re proud to be designing and building the city’s first lithium-ion battery-based microgrid,” said Gregg Patterson, President and CEO of Demand Energy. “We’ve worked closely with the Fire Department and Department of Buildings in New York City to earn their approvals and achieve this milestone in storage deployment. Lithium-ion is a proven technology that offers mul-tiple advantages over other chemistries, especially in urban installations. We look forward to bringing the benefits of this first-of-its-kind microgrid to the Village’s owners and residents.”

RELATED: Microgrid capacity is on the rise in the U.S. (could reach 4.3 GW by 2020) 

Project details

The Marcus Garvey microgrid consists of a 400 kW solar PV system and 400 kW fuel cell, sup-ported by 300 kW / 1.2 MWh lithium-ion batteries and controlled by Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OSTM), which optimizes how these resources interact and perform. The system will reduce the property’s power consumption by managing the generation and storage of renewable energy to save money through demand charge reduction. It will also provide resiliency during an outage, lower operational cost, deliver essential load relief for Con Edison, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A key technical aspect of the project is the ability of DEN.OS to ensure that the housing devel-opment self-consumes any energy it generates, without exporting to the grid. That capability di-rectly aligns with Con Edison’s Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management (BQDM) requirements, which facilitated the interconnection and permitting process.

New York City has long been a strong proponent of affordable housing like the 625-unit Marcus Garvey Village. More recently, the city has advocated for increased use of renewable energy and improved energy consumption and efficiency. This landmark project combines both initiatives, with the added benefits of energy security and resiliency in the event of a power outage, as well as revenue streams from providing useful grid services.
In September 2016, New York established an energy storage goal of 100 MWh by 2020, along with an expanded solar target of 1,000 megawatts by 2030. Storage is expected to play a key role in meeting the city’s plans to cut greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050.

— Solar Builder magazine

Caterpillar completes 1 MW PV system with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency

Caterpillar Inc. sent word that Cat dealer Altorfer has commissioned a 1000 kW solar PV system in Rantoul, Ill. Built to fulfill a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA), the installation was constructed on an eight-and-a-half-acre site near Heritage Lake Park and the University of Illinois Transportation Lab in a southeast section of the former Chanute Air Force Base.

caterpillar solar project 2

The agreement with Altorfer enables the IMEA to diversify its power generation capabilities by adding PV components to its existing power generation portfolio. Altorfer Power Systems leads the installation, maintenance and operation of the facility in Rantoul, which is expected to produce an estimated 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

RELATED: On the Scene: Caterpillar to deploy PV as part of turn-key microgrid solution throughout dealer network 

Caterpillar’s solar PV system is powered by advanced thin-film solar modules that are setting the industry benchmark with improved performance over conventional silicon solar panels. Fully scalable and pre-engineered for quick and easy installation, the system offers reliable and predictable energy in all climates and applications with modules that are independently tested to pass accelerated life and stress tests beyond industry standards.

caterpillar solar project

Caterpillar’s solar PV offering is a key component of the Cat Microgrid technology suite, an innovative lineup of power systems that adds environmentally friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, including generator sets, switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies and automatic transfer switches. The Cat Microgrid technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy efficiency in even the most challenging environments.

“With the cost of renewable energy rapidly declining, the use of microgrid technology is quickly becoming more popular. Advances in solar panel technology and energy storage have enabled Cat Microgrid technology to become one of the most effective ways to produce clean, reliable and affordable power,” said Rick Rathe, general manager of new ventures for Caterpillar’s Electric Power business. “Cat Microgrid technologies deliver an innovative, financially viable way to incorporate sustainable sources of energy into any existing portfolio of traditional power generation offerings.”

caterpillar solar project 3

Caterpillar is a leader in the power generation marketplace with power systems engineered to deliver unmatched durability, reliability and value. The company offers worldwide product support, with parts and service available globally through the Cat authorized service and dealer network. In addition, dealer service technicians are trained to service every aspect of Cat equipment.

— Solar Builder magazine

Meet Totem: A platform that combines distributed generation, comm and EV into one product

Hold on to your socks — Totem thinks it has reimagined and redesigned the smart utility with its new platform.

“Totem believes design can fundamentally change the world. We’re on a mission to realize the full potential of energy’s transformation by providing communities and corporations with intelligent, experiential and engaging structures – something that delivers powerful functionality and tells an easily understood story about clean energy and the next generation of critical services,” said Brian Lakamp, CEO and founder of Totem Power. “We are building technology for the cities of tomorrow.”

The Totem platform combines distributed energy, communications, EV charging and lighting into a single, powerful product that weaves these capabilities directly into the built environment. The first Totem model is slated for release in Summer 2017.

Details are still mysterious at this point, but here is what has been sent our way so far…

Totem: A Dynamic Smart Utility Platform

Totem solar platform

Energy, communications and transportation need to undergo radical transformations to support the emerging needs of truly smart, clean cities. Totem provides the foundation for reshaping smart utility in an integrated, visually-stunning product designed for the living spaces of communities, instead of relegating it to rooftops and garages.

Distributed Energy

Distributed renewable energy generation and storage are essential elements for bringing clean cities to reality. With Totem’s scalable model, the grid will be able to shatter the limits for solar and wind that the current network imposes. Totem’s breakthrough product is designed for placement in locations such as city streets, schools, corporate campuses and retail settings.

Advanced Communications

Advanced communications further establish Totem as the foundation for smart cities. Totem provides a reliable hub for Wi-Fi and cellular services that support increasingly connected lifestyles. Moreover, Totem is designed with an eye toward the future of energy networks enabled by connectivity. By unifying energy and communications, Totem is positioned to be an integral component of smart cities and the emerging, dynamic energy networks that power them.

Electric Vehicle Charging (EV)

As EVs and autonomous vehicles proliferate, cities are presented with new considerations and the need for a more flexible and distributed model to support new mass transportation fleets. EV charging in the Totem platform lays the groundwork for the fundamental shift in transportation infrastructure that has already begun.

Emergency Resilience

Totem’s platform also plays a pivotal role in emergency preparedness and resilience. With onboard generation and storage, Totem’s energy foundation is self-sustaining and capable of maintaining critical services. Most importantly, communications powered by Totem will continue to operate in the event of grid failure.

The Power of Totem

Totem stands as a symbol for the limitless possibilities of smart cities by simultaneously tackling key aspects of infrastructure modernization. The platform presents an integral tool for companies and communities seeking to bring sustainability and smart utility front and center in operations and interactions with the public. It is a critical entry point for communities that want to enable cleaner and more capable lifestyles.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on the world’s largest microgrid install, via Sungrow

Worlds largest MicrogridSungrow says that it has help install the world’s largest PV & energy storage microgrid power plant with 13 MW of PV inverters and 7 MW of energy storage inverters, in Shuanghu, China, the highest region in the world located in China’s Tibet province.

The 20 MW microgrid power plant aims to provide electricity to over 14,000 people living in the vicinity, with average elevations reaching heights of over 5,000 meters. With temperatures often dipping below -5℃  and the lowest temperatures recorded at -40 ℃, Shuanghu County’s extreme climate has frequently posed challenges to inverters and other solar components, operating in the region’s frigid conditions.

RELATED: Solar-plus-storage solutions for homes to microgrids 

The hardware

Sungrow’s solar and energy storage inverters, together with the company‘s batteries systems, are employed in this project. Sungrow’s inverters are designed with standardized container specifications, drastically shortening the time required for installation and commissioning which in turn reduces overall installed costs. In difficult geographic locations where labor and other installation-related costs are proportionately higher, these types of cost reductions are even more accentuated. Backed by class-leading solar inverter hardware, Sungrow’s massive microgrid power plant is also intelligently designed for remote monitoring and makes unattended operation a reality.

“We are always dedicated to bringing green and effective energy to markets in need all around the world, especially for those who reside in areas with limited access to electricity.”said Professor Renxian Cao, President of Sungrow.

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on cool AC, DC nanogrid installation on Illinois Institute campus

aquion energy nanogrid

An innovative AC/DC nanogrid at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Keating Sports Center was just completed by a team of Aquion Energy, manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion batteries and energy storage systems, Schneider Electric, specialist in energy management and automation, and Azimuth Energy, a solar-energy and energy-efficiency engineering and construction company.

“This is the future of distributed generation, where isolated loads powered by renewables combined with energy storage can stand alone and operate without the grid,” said Tim Poor, chief commercial officer of Aquion Energy. “Our safe and sustainable Aspen batteries are the optimal choice for long-duration storage and deep daily cycling, from nanogrids like this one at IIT to microgrids, island communities, and other nanogrids such as telecom base stations.”

The nanogrid, which was designed and installed by Azimuth Energy, is a combined solar-plus-energy-storage system that uses Aquion Aspen batteries for storage and Schneider power control electronics for energy management. Aquion’s Aspen product line is optimized for daily deep cycling for residential solar, green architecture, off-grid and microgrid, telecom towers, energy management, and grid-scale applications.

RELATED: Microgrids: Why are they gaining in popularity, what part does storage play? 

aquion nanogrid

The IIT nanogrid is unique because it supports both AC and DC loads. During the day, the solar array directly powers the highly efficient DC LED lighting systems and AC loads, while simultaneously charging the batteries. Any excess solar energy can be exported to the grid. In the event of a grid outage, the batteries and solar panels deliver energy to the system 24/7.

Although the Keating nanogrid has a connection to the campus microgrid, it is engineered to operate autonomously using only solar and batteries, as an island off-grid system. The nanogrid is a demonstration of how a solar plus storage system can provide resilient electricity for critical building loads during power outages, such as police stations and hospitals. In the case of an outage, any building with a nanogrid could continue to be powered by its own sustainable, self-generated electricity. The nanogrid also allows building operators to respond to their power demand and control how and when they use power from the microgrid – and ultimately from the utility.

 

— Solar Builder magazine