How to implement healthcare microgrids in California

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A new white paper from the Hospital Building Safety Board – Energy Conservation and Management Committee explores how healthcare microgrids can help California hospitals address the challenges of climate change and better utilize renewable energy resources.

healthcare microgrids

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As California hospitals face ongoing challenges stemming from public safety power shutoff (PSPS) programs, now is the time to invest in a solution that will provide full business continuity, not just backup power, according to a new white paper from the Hospital Building Safety Board. The authors say that healthcare microgrids can play a significant role in delivering a “more reliable and sustainable power distribution system for California’s hospitals.”

The white paper is split into three sections, each addressing a different aspect of microgrid implementation: technology and supply chain, codes and regulations, and institutional and financial concerns.

The technology and supply chain section begins by outlining what a microgrid is and what it isn’t. The authors note that a microgrid is local and independent, and it’s more than just solar panels on the roof. They say, “A microgrid will keep the power flowing when the central grid fails; a solar panel alone will not. Many building operators with solar panels are unaware of this fact and are surprised that they lose power during a grid outage.”

This section of the paper also includes discussion of microgrid control systems, switchgear, and microgrid operations and maintenance. The authors also explain the role of solar in a microgrid, what energy storage systems and fuel cells bring to the table, and how cogeneration or combined heat and power can be integrated into a microgrid.

Microgrid financing is not always lower than the avoided utility cost. If the resiliency needs are modest, the microgrid can be modest. It is essential to balance resiliency versus cost. — Hospital Building Safety Board – Energy Conservation and Management Committee, “Microgrids for Healthcare Facilities

The second section of the paper focuses on codes and regulations and how to ensure that your healthcare microgrid is compliant. The paper notes that “based on current codes, an engineered solution is required to implement microgrids for healthcare facilities in California to supplement the normal utility power service to the site.” The authors include a detailed review of the California codes relevant to healthcare microgrid implementation.

The final section of the paper explores institutional and financial considerations, including the role of PSPS events, corporate sustainability goals and trends, and financing options for healthcare microgrids.

Download the report for free from the Microgrid Knowledge white paper library.

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