Microgrid and onsite power means Californian jail never without power

An $11.7m microgridà‚ project will mean Santa Rita Jail in California’s Alameda County can sustain power for daily operations and security if its connection to the grid is interrupted.

Smartgridnews.com reports that the jail’s onsite power generation integrates with energy storage to ensure power is never lost.

Image via Shutterstock

The microgrid, designed and built by Chevron Energy Solutions, also allows the jail to buy power from the utility during least expensive nonpeak hours and store it for use during the most expensive summer peak hours, which provides significant savings.

The county anticipates it will save $100,000 per year in energy costs at the “mega jail” which covers 113 acres and houses as many as 4000 inmates, making it the fifth largest such facility in the country.

The Santa Rita Jail requires 3 MW of constant, reliable electricity to maintain daily operations and ensure the safety of the inmates and staff.

The microgrid initiative is the culmination of several renewable energy projects implemented at the jail, including solar photovoltaic panels, a 1 MW fuel cell cogeneration plant and wind turbines, along with a 2 MW advanced energy storage system.

The project was funded in part by the Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

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