Built by partners Schneider Electric and engineering firm Faith Technologies, the microgrid features a 200 kW solar PV system, a 30 kW hydrogen fuel cell, a 100 kW lithium-ion battery energy storage system, a 65 kW microturbine and a 60 kW Kohler natural gas generator.
Its output will be used to power the 1672-square-metre nature centre at the heart of the preserve.
Faith Technologies handled the EPC for the project while Schneider contributed the power control centre and a cloud-based software-as-a-service platform, which it said can autonomously configure the resources into a range of different permutations to produce the most cost-effective combination of energy resources available at a given time.
The microgrid is monitored remotely and feeds live data on its performance to a display at Faith Technologies’ Innovation Centre in Menasha, Wisconsin.
Schneider Electric said the project will also act as a testing site for microgrid operations, allowing testing and measurement of microgrid technologies’ impact in a real-world environment while supporting the nature preserve’s mission.
Mike Jansen, Faith Technologies’ CEO, said microgrids “allow business owners to control one of the top expenses they face today: energy costs.
“This microgrid at Bubolz was designed to showcase the wide range of clean energy components that can make up a microgrid. From solar panels to microturbines, we’re able to customize an energy solution that is tailored to each individual business.”
And Don Wingate, Schneider’s vice-president for strategic customers and microgrid solutions, said the microgrid would offer “greater control over energy to achieve [the preserve’s] goals by optimizing when energy is consumed, produced, or stored.”