Duke Energy Renewables microgrid project starts selling power to Schneider Electric campus under PPA

Written By: Stratton Report
April 6, 2017

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On April 6, Duke Energy Renewables announced its first microgrid project is now operating on the Schneider Electric Boston One Campus.

Duke Energy Renewable stressed that it owns the microgrid system and the associated solar array and is selling the power to Schneider Electric through a long-term PPA.

According to Duke, Schneider Electric built the microgrid on the campus of its North American headquarters in Andover, Mass, and Duke sub, REC Solar, built and will operate the solar array.

According to Schneider Electric, the project was funded through Schneider Electric’s MaaS business model, allowing the firm to avoid any upfront capital expenditure costs. The microgrid will be used to research and develop new microgrid technologies, solutions and applications in a real-world environment.

Chris Fallon, vice president of Duke Energy Renewables and Commercial Portfolio remarked: “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. Additionally, in partnership with Schneider, we can research and develop new microgrid technologies, solutions and applications in a real-world environment.”

Mark Feasel, Vice President, Utility Segment, Smart Grid & Microgrid, Schneider Electric observed: “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. 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.”

Per Duke, the microgrid includes a 354-kW AC solar array as well as a natural gas generator as an anchor resource, allowing the solar panels to operate during grid outages to maintain critical operations.

Schneider Electric announced that launching of its Schneider Electric Energy Control Center, which connects the microgrid’s distributed energy resources to the Boston One campus microgrid and provides advanced control. The BOC microgrid also features the company’s newly released EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor, which leverages connected hardware, software and cloud-based analytics to help the campus procure, manage and consume energy more efficiently.

According to Schnieder, the combination of advanced controls and demand side software allows the microgrid to leverage weather forecast data and other operational site data to optimize BOC’s energy performance across onsite solar, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, building HVAC and natural gas generation assets.

Duke Energy Renewables also announced that it, along with Schneider Electric and REC Solar have a second microgrid project underway for the Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Safety Headquarters and Correctional Facility.

Duke Energy Renewables will own the two Montgomery County microgrids, which will consist of a 2-AC solar project and two CHP units. The CHP systems will save energy by using waste heat from on-site power generation to heat and cool the buildings.

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.

Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology noted:

It’s more important than ever to meet customers’ evolving needs through solutions that are creative, affordable and dependable. With more than 100 years of utility experience and an established renewables business, we bring the expertise in generating cleaner energy that will serve to increase the security and sustainability for these county facilities.

Per the firm, the microgrids will allow continued operation of Montgomery County’s critical facilities for extended periods during power outages.