Scale Microgrid Solutions Brings Indoor Farm Microgrid Online

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Scale Microgrid Solutions brought a 1.75-MW microgrid online for a major indoor farm near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

By ESstock/Shutterstock.com

Scale Microgrid’s modular microgrid for Fifth Season, a startup indoor farming company, uses 160 kW of photovoltaic solar panels, 200 kW of lithium ion batteries and a 1,200-kW natural gas generator outfitted with advanced emissions control technology.

The microgrid provides ancillary services to the electric grid and is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 470,000 pounds a year, or the equivalent of taking 39 passenger cars off the road, according to Scale.

Fifth Season’s Braddock indoor farm uses 97% less land and up to 95% less water than traditional farming, according to Scale. Fifth Season uses robotics and artificial intelligence to grow leafy vegetables and herbs year-round.

Fifth Season needs cheap, clean and reliable power to create the ideal indoor farming environment, the Ridgewood, New Jersey-based company said.

“Fifth Season is paving the way for indoor farming, and Scale is improving their energy efficiency and grid resilience, reducing their costs and mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions,” Ryan Goodman, Scale CEO and co-founder, said July 13.

Scale owns and operates the microgrid at the 60,000-square-foot Braddock farm under an energy-as-a-service contract. Fifth Season didn’t have to pay upfront costs for the microgrid.

The project uses Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor (EMA), a cloud-based, demandside energy management software platform. EMA uses predictive and learning algorithms, which will help Scale efficiently manage the production and use of its renewable energy.

Scale and Schneider previously worked together developing a microgrid for a Bowery Farming indoor farm in New Jersey. The microgrid, commissioned in 2019, includes 815 kW of natural gas-fired generation, 150 kW of solar and 200 kW of battery storage, according to Scale.

Scale is backed by a $300 million equity commitment from global private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

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