How This Smart Community Is Able To Power 200 Homes With Solar And Batteries

How This Smart Community Is Able To Power 200 Homes With Solar And Batteries

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Distribution utilities are well aware of the need for adaptability in a grid comprised of thousands of DER and renewable energy sources. A new initiative in California, a state that often serves as a leader in the energy transition, will evaluate the potential of two all-electric microgrids serving two neighborhoods and 192 houses to provide the kind of flexibility required by the grid of the future.

Two microgrid communities in Menifee, California, are being designed, built, and tested by a group of organizations led by the Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). These organizations include the Department of Energy (DOE), SunPower, KB Home, Southern California Edison (SCE), and Schneider Electric (SE).

smart community with solar and batteries

On February 6, 2023, in San Diego, we will host the first-ever GridTECH Connect Forum, the first gathering of its kind to bring together utility executives and distributed energy resource innovators to tackle connectivity issues. You can find out more about Clarion Energy's next regional event right now.

Come join us for talks centered on the California market and covering topics such as virtual power plants, fleet electrification, connectivity, demand response, and more. Sign up now!

Solar panels, house batteries, a smart water heater, a smart HVAC system, and controls that can separate and power the homes in the case of a grid outage are all installed in the all-electric homes in two neighboring villages for this study and demonstration project. All of the houses will be approved as "Zero Energy Ready Homes" (ZERH) by the Department of Energy.

Separate microgrids serving each of the 192 houses in the two villages will be interconnected if and when it is found that sharing resources is in everyone's best interest.

There will be individual batteries in each house, as well as a communal battery that everyone may use. The project's overarching objective is to improve the dependability, resilience, and efficiency of household energy use by using variable loads within an electric microgrid architecture of interconnected communities.

To provide the next generation of homeowners with the increased reliability, resilience, and energy efficiency they expect, APEP is collaborating with SCE, SE, and SunPower to design, implement, and evaluate a microgrid controller that will interface with the homes, the microgrid's energy resources, and the grid. Together with SCE, APEP will simulate the interconnected microgrids, collect and store the project's data, and study ways to improve the technology already in place to facilitate future microgrid deployments.

Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Environmental Engineering and SunPower's Co-Principal Investigator Scott Samuelsen called the technology "at the forefront of the next generation of home improvements." " The increased home energy security given by microgrid technology is necessary for the digital and connected future and the home "fueling" of electric cars, which are a growing trend among today's homeowners.

smart community with solar and batteries

Sunrun's v.p. of policy, Amy Heart, was a guest on the Texas Power Podcast, where she spoke about Winter Storm Uri, the state of Texas's interest in virtual power plants, and more. You may find the Texas Power Podcast on any podcasting platform and subscribe there.

The American Public Engineering Project (APEP) played a critical role in the project's conception and now acts as a liaison between the project team and SCE. In the event of a power outage, APEP will also investigate, test, and showcase the potential of "car-to-home" technology, in which electric vehicle battery power may be used to keep homes running for longer.

As a whole, APEP will make sure the UCI Microgrid Controller is up to par with national standards (IEEE 2030.7) that were developed as a result of APEP's previous work for the DOE.

The 20 MW-class UCI Microgrid serves over 50,000 people, a variety of buildings (residential, office, research, classroom), modes of transportation (automobiles, buses, shared cars, bicycles), and other distributed energy resources.


APEP has collaborated with UCI Administration and Facilities Management (FM) on past and ongoing research projects to incorporate critical pieces of microgrid hardware, software, and simulation assets into the UCI Microgrid. APEP, working with UCI FM and SCE, was able to effectively disconnect the UCI microgrid from the utility grid and then reconnect it without any interruptions. Even though there was a significant shift in load demand on campus throughout the 75-minute islanding exercise, no one noticed a difference.

smart community with solar and batteries


How can solar and renewable energy help local communities?

producing electricity without polluting the environment by burning fossil fuelsDeveloping alternative energy sources and decreasing reliance on foreign oil Manufacturing, installation, and other economic activities are stimulated, and new employment is created.

What is a communal energy storage system?

Among the most cutting-edge smart grid technologies now available, community energy storage (CES) offers several advantages to distribution networks in the areas of stability, dependability, quality, and control. This innovation has become an integral part of modern microgrids due to the mutual advantages it provides for consumers and utilities.

What are the advantages of solar energy in the community?

encouraging the use of alternative energy sources, decreasing emissions, and hastening the phase-out of traditional fuels. Developing power generation initiatives at the community level to strengthen the grid's ability to withstand disruptions eliminating the need for a large initial investment while saving money on monthly energy costs.

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