Menlo Park, California, Issues RFP for Microgrid at Campus Paid for by Facebook

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Menlo Park, California, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) that seeks a company to design, build and operate a solar-based microgrid and electric vehicle chargers for a community center.

microgrid RFP

By Smile Fight/Shutterstock.com

The city is holding an optional prebid meeting on April 21 at 11 a.m. PDT. Bids are due May 18 and city staff expect to provide a contract to the Menlo Park City Council for a vote in August.

Menlo Park is looking for developers of solar installations, battery energy storage systems, microgrid energy management systems and electric vehicle charging stations to support a “resilient and cost-effective” renewable energy project and islandable microgrid at the Menlo Park Community Campus, according to the RFP.

The Menlo Park Community Campus is in the design phase and will be paid for by Facebook, which is headquartered in the city.

Project to serve Red Cross shelter

The facility will house a Red Cross emergency shelter, according to the RFP. The solar-based microgrid will provide backup power in case of widespread power outages.

Menlo Park, a city south of San Francisco, expects the project will include roughly 615 kW of solar capacity and a 250-kW/1,600-kWh battery system. The city is in Pacific Gas and Electric’s service territory.

The city wants the microgrid to be able to run in a short-term mode served by the battery and solar panels and a long-term mode that can include two 200-kW diesel portable standby generators.

During normal, grid-connected operations, Menlo Park expects the microgrid control system will manage local storage of solar energy production via the battery system to reduce demand charges while enabling peak and load shifting to help cut the city’s electricity bills.

The campus won’t have natural gas service, so the city is encouraging bidders to propose microgrid designs that use waste heat from the solar panels to provide thermal energy to the city’s swimming pools.

Menlo Park said the project has six key goals:

  • Ensure the availability of resilient power and support Red Cross operations for part of the Menlo Park Community Campus.
  • Provide enough solar generation for net-zero energy use at the site and reach LEED platinum certification.
  • Reduce the city’s lifetime levelized costs of energy at the campus.
  • Reduce the city’s environmental effects, including greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provide EV charging for 27 electric vehicles at the campus parking lot (12 dual-port, Level 2 chargers, 3 DC fast chargers).
  • Increase the community’s experience and knowledge of distributed energy resources, microgrids and advanced energy solutions.

Menlo Park will consider various financing options for the project, including buying the equipment or entering into a power purchase agreement.

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