The project will provide resiliency benefits to the SRJC campus as well as the surrounding community by allowing the campus to isolate from the grid in the event of an outage – planned or unplanned – and continue to provide emergency services to the students, faculty, and the local community. The lessons learned from the execution of this microgrid system can help similar-sized colleges replicate the project and deploy a microgrid on their own campuses.
The microgrid project will help SRJC meet its environmental impact goals by supplying up to 40% of the campus electricity demand with emissions-free photovoltaic (PV) solar energy. Measured energy savings data will be used to calculate net greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.
The peak demand reduction and efficiency improvements provided by successful implementation of this project supports California’s ambitious GHG emission reduction goals.
This project is in a highly vulnerable region of California, indicating a growing need for resilient electrical infrastructure that can ride through grid outages and allow the campus to continue serving its staff and students and the surrounding community.
The distributed generation, energy storage and demand control system integrated with the SRJC’s existing flexible energy feed configuration create a high degree of flexibility and expandability. The microgrid controller will respond autonomously to changing grid needs providing grid stabilization.
We project the peak demand reduction from the battery energy storage systems and onsite PV solar generation will yield a reduction of campus energy costs of $538,121 per year.
The microgrid project will provide financial value by using the battery energy storage system to participate in a PG&E demand response program. Additionally, the added resilience of the microgrid system will allow SRJC to continue to provide services during and outage and avoid losing revenue which is $378,918/day on average.
The Policy Context
California Assembly Bill 32 set ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals, aiming for emissions rates at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Even more recently in 2018, the California Governor signed Senate Bill 100 which established a goal to achieve 100% clean electricity for the state by 2045. According to a California Air Resources Board (CARB) study of California Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2000 to 2018, development of renewable energy resources has spurred a reduction in fossil fuel electricity generation since the early 2000s and in 2018 the electricity sector was responsible for only 15% of the state’s GHG emissions. California’s rapid adoption of solar photovoltaic systems since 2008 have largely contributed to the reduction in GHG emissions from the electricity sector, but solar reliance still faces the challenge of balancing daytime oversupply with evening demand when solar generation is not available. Dynamic microgrid systems that incorporate renewable generation and energy storage can optimize energy use and provide an opportunity to further reduce GHG emissions from energy infrastructure.