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Preserving Nature with Faith & State-of-the-Art Microgrids

June 7, 2018 Jenna Bieller

Microgrid Technology Helps Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve Increase Resiliency, Meet Sustainability Goals and Reduce Operating Costs

Faith Technologies, a leading electrical planning, engineering, design, and installation expert, in partnership with Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, designed and built a state-of-the-art, clean energy microgrid at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The advanced microgrid uses a 200 kW solar photovoltaic energy (solar panels); a 30 kW hydrogen fuel cell; a 100 kW lithium-ion battery storage system that utilizes Panasonic technology; a 65 kW micro-turbine; and a 60 kW Kohler natural gas generator from to power the 18,000-square-foot nature center building.

“This microgrid was designed and engineered by Faith’s team of energy experts and utilizes specialized equipment and technology made possible through our collaboration with a very forward-thinking partner; Schneider Electric,” said Mike Jansen, CEO of Faith Technologies.

“We worked together to make sure we were creating a solution that was not only environmentally smart, but enhanced the preserve’s organizational sustainability through cost effective energy efficiency as well.”

Engineered, procured and constructed by Faith Technologies, the microgrid’s integrated distributed energy resources (DER) are managed by Schneider Electric’s Energy Control Center, an intelligent, pre-engineered power control center, and optimized by Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor, a cloud-connected Software-as-a-Service platform.

“By using tools like Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor, the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve microgrid will also have greater control over energy to achieve its goals by optimizing when energy is consumed, produced, or stored.”

The sophisticated tool can autonomously configure the DERs into a range of different permutations to produce the most efficient, clean, and cost-effective combination of energy resources available at any given time. Energy pricing and resource availability can change minute by minute so this modular, scalable, repeatable microgrid technology will help the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve unlock better financial sustainability.

 

“It takes strong alliances to deliver improved business outcomes, so Schneider Electric has partnered with Faith Technologies to deliver enhanced resiliency, sustainability, and energy efficiency,” said Don Wingate, Vice President Strategic Customers and Microgrid Solutions. “By using tools like Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor, the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve microgrid will also have greater control over energy to achieve its goals by optimizing when energy is consumed, produced, or stored.”

As one of the most advanced microgrids in existence, the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve project acts as a testing site for increasingly sophisticated microgrid operations, allowing testing and measurement of a microgrid technologies’ impact in a real-world environment while supporting the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve’s mission.

“A microgrid allows business owners to control one of the top expenses they face today, energy costs,” Jansen said. “This microgrid at Bubolz was designed to showcase the wide range of clean energy components that can make up a microgrid. From solar panels to microturbines, we’re able to customize an energy solution that is tailored to each individual business. Microgrids provide control, in the form of uninterrupted clean energy, to today’s energy reliant businesses.”

By integrating a high-tech microgrid controller, the microgrid can manage its production and consumption of renewable energy and control energy spend, reaching the highest levels of sustainability, reliability, and efficiency possible for a microgrid.

Given the software is cloud-connected, the system will continue to grow in sophistication over the years without the need for any on-site visits or physical changes made by Schneider Electric or Faith Technologies. This allows the two companies to monitor the microgrid assets and update its programming remotely. For example, the microgrid feeds live data on its performance to a display at the Faith Technologies Innovation Center in Menasha, Wisconsin.

Through a team of forward-thinking innovators and naturalists who leverage technology to enhance sustainability, this microgrid has created substantial community impact.

To learn more about how microgrids help organizations tackle the energy challenges of the 21st century, we invite you to read our white paper: How Microgrids Contribute to the Energy Transition.

 

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