G&W Electric Begins Construction on Microgrid at Campus Head
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This news is classified in: Sustainable Energy Smart Grids

Aug 24, 2021

G&W Electric Begins Construction on Microgrid at Campus Headquarters

  • 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

G&W Electric, a global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905, announced today the start of construction for a microgrid at its headquarters in Bolingbrook, Illinois. In the event of an outage, the microgrid will automatically isolate or "island" itself from the central grid to allow the company's operations to continue to run seamlessly.

"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. "Ultimately, this G&W Electric custom designed, turnkey microgrid solution will serve as an example of how G&W Electric can provide support to other businesses, communities and government entities to produce their own reliable source of power and prevent the costly effects of downtime during a catastrophic outage."

To generate power for the microgrid, G&W Electric will install nearly 6,000 solar panels across the company's roof.  The microgrid will also contain a 1.3 MVA flywheel to provide ride-through power and a two-megawatt flow battery that can operate at 150 percent of its nominal load. This system will provide the facility with three megawatts for nearly 2 hours.

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This microgrid will use software to participate in Frequency Regulation through PJM Interconnection. A regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity, PJM Interconnection helps to maintain grid stabilization at 60Hz.

This microgrid can serve as a backup in the event of an outage, but it will also cut costs, allowing G&W Electric to be more energy independent and environmentally friendly.

"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. "Additionally, as one of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in North America, this will also move G&W Electric toward its carbon-neutral operational goals."

G&W Electric will leverage cutting-edge technology with bifacial solar panels that will generate energy from both sides. Covering more than 370,000 sq. ft, the solar panels will optimize the use of direct sunlight and reflection from the brand new and highly reflective white roof membrane, which will generate 18-20% more energy than a standard monofacial solar panel design.

"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.

This microgrid represents another large step toward carbon neutrality for G&W Electric, an organization committed to sustainable business practices. The Bolingbrook facility is also ISO 14001 certified for environmental management, holds a LEED Gold® certification and is landfill-free.

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

G&W Electric