Distributed Energy Resources

Clallam County PUD community solar project part of microgrid

A new community solar project is one of three components proposed as part of a Clallam County Public Utility District microgrid demonstration project, the Washington State-based PUD recently said.

In October 2018, the PUD announced that it had submitted an application to the Washington Department of Commerce proposing a community solar-powered electric vehicle charging microgrid demonstration project.

The project would be located at the PUD’s former Sequim Substation and an office site and would integrate a new 30-50 kW community solar generation system, two EV level 2 charging stations, as well as a distribution scale battery system.

Each component of the project would be funded by its own innovative mechanism to minimize cost, the PUD noted on Jan. 16.

The EV charging stations would be funded by a joint partnership between the City of Sequim and Clallam County PUD, and would include two level 2 charging stations located in downtown Sequim within walking distance of retail and restaurant activities for tourist and locals alike.

The solar component would be funded as a community solar project. Participants would receive a credit on their bill, in proportion to their participation level, throughout the life of the solar installation, taking advantage of the financial incentives offered by the State of Washington.

The microgrid battery component would be financed by a matching grant provided by Washington Department of Commerce. The battery would be tied to the site’s fiber network controls and communication hut already located on the property.

The community solar and microgrid battery would be sufficiently sized to serve as the primary power source for the site’s fiber network control system, which the PUD said is an integral part of the region’s broadband network, as well as provide power for the EV charging stations.

The PUD said it has long considered the best use for the property since the Sequim substation was initially identified to be decommissioned.

An earlier 75 kW community solar project in 2016 was not built as 100% subscription to the project was not achieved.

“The smaller scale of this proposed project, along with the reduced costs of installation, creates an exciting opportunity to, partner with the community, state, and other local agencies to showcase innovative and renewable technologies, and adding resiliency to the electrical grid and local communications infrastructure,” the PUD said.

The PUD already has over 300 rooftop solar customers in the county “and this demonstration project provides the ability for customers to participate in solar technology even if they do not have an ideal site or resources for their own rooftop solar installation.”

Snohomish PUD broke ground on $9.5 million microgrid project

Another Washington State-based PUD, Snohomish County PUD, plans to demonstrate new energy technologies, including energy storage coupled with a solar array, at its $9.5 million Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center on which ground was broken last summer near the Arlington Airport.

Once in operation in 2020, it will be Snohomish’s first microgrid and third battery storage facility.

The system will be able to run independently from the electric grid.