G&W Electric’s new microgrid includes bifacial solar, a flow battery and a flywheel

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Construction of the G&W Electric microgrid is underway. Credit: G&W Electric.

The microgrid will provide more reliable and resilient power during seasonal peak demands and power outages by leveraging a combination of solar, G&W Electric switchgear, FLISR, batteries, and a flywheel. 

This week G&W Electric said it has begun construction on a microgrid at its headquarters in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

Power for the microgrid will be provide by nearly 6,000 bifacial solar panels across the company’s roof.  Bifacial panels can generate electricity from both sides, allowing the company to capture solar electricity from direct sunlight as well as reflection from the new white roof membrane. G&W said this gives it up to a 20% boost over traditional monofacial panels.

The microgrid will also contain a 1.3 MVA flywheel to provide ride-through power and a 2-MW flow battery that can operate at 150 percent of its nominal load, said G&W. This system will provide the facility with three megawatts for nearly 2 hours. In the event of an outage, the microgrid will “island” i.e. detach from the main grid in order to provide power to the G&W facility.

Software will allow the microgrid participate in frequency regulation through PJM Interconnection and will help G&W cut costs. 

“After an outage completely shut down our operations for several hours a little over two years ago, G&W Electric recognized the financial benefits of installing a microgrid to deliver uninterrupted premium power to support our critical operations as well as our customers,” said John Mueller, chairman and owner of G&W Electric.

“During peak demands for electricity, G&W Electric’s microgrid will participate in ComEd’s Voluntary Load Reduction Program and isolate itself from the grid to help reduce ComEd’s peak load demand, eliminating its energy dependency during a time when prices increase,” said Pat Avery, vice president of power grid automation for G&W Electric.

“Solar energy has become a highly reliable, cost-effective source of energy for the future. Producing one’s own energy is the best method to provide premium, uninterrupted power for our critical operations to help avoid unnecessary downtime, rework and scrap leading to unhappy customers,” added Avery. 

Construction of the microgrid is expected to be completed in early 2022. 

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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