A Costa Rican medical manufacturer plans to install what’s being described as the first advanced solar plus storage microgrid in Central America.
Establishment Labs will use the microgrid for critical back-up power, peak demand reduction and smoothing of solar variability. The microgrid also is designed to make the manufacturing plant more energy efficient as it works toward achieving Carbon Neutral and LEED Gold certifications.
The manufacturer described the project as the first state-of-the-art storage plus solar microgrid in Costa Rica. It includes a 500-kW/1 MWh lithium-ion battery storage unit and 276-kW of solar photovoltaics provided by developer Rio Grande Renewables and energy storage company Demand Energy.
“This new generation of microgrid technologies is a game-changer in the region. They are not only cleaner than traditional grid electricity and diesel generators, but they’re also more affordable now than in previous years,” said Brian Schmidly, Rio Grande Renewables president, in a news release.
Shane Johnson, vice president of operations for Demand Energy, said that the solar plus storage microgrid will offer Establishment Labs a rapid payback due to significant savings from peak power reduction and by avoiding production losses during power outages.
He added that the microgrid also “eliminates the stranded costs of traditional diesel generators while offering a healthy return on investment through optimizing renewable solar generation.” This drives a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and supports Costa Rica’s goal to be the world’s first carbon-neutral country, he said.
The microgrid will include Demand Energy’s microgrid controller, the Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OS). DEN.OS reduces power costs while maximizing economic returns from behind-the-meter storage systems alone — or in combination with renewables and other distributed energy resources, according to the company. The controller will allow the manufacturer to self-consume any energy generated by the microgrid, without exporting to the grid.
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