August 17, 2017
Microgrid Energy recently completed a solar PV-based microgrid installation at Fremont Fire Station 11 in Fremont, California. They microgrid will allow the fire station to continue operating in the event of a grid outage, while at the same time reducing their carbon footprint and locking in their energy rates for the foreseeable future.
In partnership with Gridscape Solutions, Microgrid Energy helped develop, engineer, and manage construction of the project, which consists of a 38.4 kW solar PV parking canopy, battery storage system, and microgrid controller with an existing backup generator. “The new PV and battery system ties directly into the fire station’s existing electrical distribution and backup generator,” explains Patrick Kemp, Director of Engineering at Microgrid Energy. “The microgrid system will provide onsite electrical generation, and will help stabilize the utility grid voltage and frequency.” In the event of a utility outage, the batteries will be able to provide power for up to 3 hours, and the generator and solar PV system can run indefinitely after that.
The site is the first of several fire stations in the region that will roll out similar onsite energy projects as part of a California Energy Commission grant. The infrastructure updates will help these critical facilities save money on their utility bills, provide cover and shade in their parking lot, and reduce their dependence on their existing backup generators.
“As with any microgrid system, we were faced with the challenge of where to interconnect the PV and battery system at Fremont Fire Station 11, and how this system would operate while in grid-interactive and islanding modes, as well as while the onsite generator was active,” said Joe Sarlo, Senior Project Manager at Microgrid Energy. “This is where Gridscape Solution’s controls expertise came into play, which allows the system to seamlessly switch between sources of power depending on external factors such as TOU energy rates, grid outages and the energy demands of the fire station.”
While fire stations are top priorities for the utility to restore power to, this system will enable the Fremont Fire Station to have indefinite power as long as the backup generator is available. The solar microgrid will enable the fire station to minimize the need for that.