The projects will reduce demand on regional energy infrastructure, enable Eaton to power manufacturing with more renewables and boost energy resilience for its operations.
“The increasing frequency and impact of climate emergencies underscore the need for far more sustainable and resilient power,” said Brian Brickhouse, president of Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Americas region. “Around the world, we’re applying our Everything as a Grid approach to strengthen operations with low-carbon energy sources and the ability to withstand extreme weather emergencies. With our partner Enel X, we established a replicable energy-as-a-service model that exemplifies how to keep the power on — no matter what.”
Large-scale power outages have increased by 67% since 2000 and continue to impact millions of communities and businesses. (Source: Climate Central) Microgrid systems help prepare for the unexpected by balancing where, when and how electricity is consumed—to improve resilience, including during grid outage events. Microgrids also provide added value when grid conditions are normal by generating renewable energy from the solar panels, which can be consumed, or stored and delivered back to the local grid to reduce stress on regional utility infrastructure.
“As extreme weather caused by the climate crisis becomes the new normal, commercial and industrial businesses need to adopt an integrated energy strategy and solutions that are both resilient and sustainable,” said Surya Panditi, Head of Enel X North America. “Enel X is committed to delivering custom energy solutions that deliver economic value and meet any organization’s sustainability needs. Through our growing partnership with Eaton, we’ve developed a replicable gold standard for resiliency, emissions reductions and energy cost savings.”
The solar-plus-storage microgrid at the Eaton Las Piedras manufacturing facility will integrate nearly 5 megawatts (MWac) of solar PV and approximately 1.1 MW/2.2 MWh of battery storage into the facility’s onsite power generation systems. The project is the second microgrid at an Eaton manufacturing site on the island. Together with the microgrid system at the Eaton Arecibo site, Eaton and Enel X will contribute 10 MWac of solar PV and 2.23 MW / 4.46 MWh of battery storage in Puerto Rico by 2022.
Under the terms of the agreement, Enel X will build, own and operate the system on behalf of Eaton. Additionally, Enel X will finance the project under an energy-as-a-service model, shifting Eaton’s investment in the microgrid system from a capital to an operational expense. Eaton will provide installation expertise and key technologies for the microgrid system, including its leading microgrid controller and plant electrical distribution equipment.
In addition to increasing the facility’s resiliency, the solar-plus-storage system will enable Eaton to generate, store and consume renewable energy, and support the local grid by discharging renewable energy back to the grid, reducing emissions by limiting the need for carbon-intensive electricity during peak demand periods.
The microgrid systems at the Las Piedras and Arecibo plants are designed to hurricane code in Puerto Rico and able to withstand Category 5 strength hurricane-force winds. Like all Enel X storage deployments, the microgrid will utilize Enel X’s Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Optimization software, and its unique capabilities to maximize the value of the project across multiple applications, including on bill savings, incentive programs and grid services.