The Chemehuevi Indian Reservation, near Lake Havasu, CA, will soon have a 90-kilowatt SunPower solar carport and a 25 kW/125 kilowatt hour (kWh) Primus Power flow energy storage system. That’s thanks to a partnership with University of California Riverside, Pacific Energy and Grid Alternatives. The solar-powered microgrid, slated to come online in July 2017, will provide electricity and back-up power to the reservation’s community center, which also serves as its emergency response center.
“The Community Center serves low-income families, and during power outages people rely on the facility to provide electricity and a place to sleep, shower, cook, and care for community members with medical needs. The microgrid will enable us to provide emergency shelter for our community when they need it the most,” said Glenn H. Lodge, vice chairman of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe.
The microgrid will provide the reservation with back-up power in the case of frequent grid failure and black-outs due to harsh regional weather and its rural location. Only one power line feeds the center. The system also promises to lower energy costs for tribal members and create job opportunities through Grid Alternatives’ solar installation training program during the project’s construction.
“This type of university-industry partnership is critical not only for conducting independent, non-biased validation of leading-edge technologies, but also for providing a roadmap to other stakeholders wishing to deploy similar types of projects with lower tolerance for risk,” said Alfredo Martinez-Morales, managing director of the Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy at the Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT).
The project also will serve as chance to research such installations. As such UC Riverside researchers will use energy management software to collect data to optimize peak reduction, load shifting, demand response and storage-to-grid transfer. They will use EnSync Energy Systems’ Matrix Energy Management and DER Flex technologies as well as OSISoft’s PI software.
“This project has the dual benefit of providing an environmentally friendly power system for the tribe while allowing researchers to study a system that could become a model for people in California and elsewhere,” added Martinez-Morales.
Pacific Energy is providing contracting and electrical engineering assistance for the project. The microgrid is supported by a $2.6 million grant from the California Energy Commission and part of CE-CERT’s Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative.Tweet