D.C. university to install community solar project with microgrid backup

A solar + storage microgrid is being installed at Gallaudet University, an institution of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing students, in Washington, DC

A 2.5-MW solar portfolio will be installed on campus rooftops and parking garages, along with a 1.2-MW/2.5-MWh Tesla Megapack lithium-ion energy storage system and a 4.5-MW combined cooling, heat and power system. The entire project is expected to go online by Fall 2023.

“After several years of careful planning, we are excited that this transformational project is becoming a reality,” said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. “The microgrid will help Gallaudet meet the energy challenges of the 21st century. Gallaudet has been an anchor in the District for 158 years, and we are proud to be building an energy system that will benefit the community.”

Scale Microgrid Solutions will design, build and operate this project with various collaborators, including Urban Ingenuity, Schneider Electric, Mitsubishi, CHA Consulting and New Columbia Solar.

“We are thrilled to partner with Gallaudet University on a truly breakthrough system that not only will deliver valuable resiliency benefits for the university but also provide the surrounding community with access to cleaner energy,” said Ryan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Scale Microgrid Solutions.

The microgrid should provide nearly all of the university’s electricity needs in a grid outage, and the solar portion will be set up as a community solar array, open to DC residents and small businesses for subscription.

The project’s participation in the DC community solar program is made possible through extensive collaboration with Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). Typically, on-site community solar projects connect to the grid directly, skipping the home or building’s power infrastructure entirely. However, in this case, the electricity production from the solar panels distributed across Gallaudet’s campus is being tracked and allocated for community solar credits, despite being connected to the university’s own electrical infrastructure. This virtual front of the meter approach lets Scale Microgrid Solutions develop the project without the need for extensive cabling costs that would be required to aggregate these many distributed solar systems and connect them directly to PEPCO’s grid. Instead, they simply connect to the nearest power panel and PEPCO tracks the output through sensors and software.

News item from Scale Microgrid Solutions

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