The Arlington Microgrid and Clean Energy Center project represents a new technology and approach for grid resiliency and renewable energy integration. The project includes:
- 500-kilowatt solar array with smart inverters
- 1,000 kW/1,400 kWh lithium-ion battery storage system
- Several vehicle-to-grid charging stations for use with the PUD’s electric fleet vehicles
- Solar tree (see below)
What’s a “microgrid”? A microgrid offers a unique emergency backup system for power. It is comprised of locally grouped electricity sources that can feed the main electrical grid or be disconnected to serve a specific location.
- Demonstrates multiple uses of energy storage
- Provides utilities, municipalities and organizations a plan and design to study for future microgrid projects
- Increases reliability in case of an emergency
- The Community Solar array – one of the largest in the state – will provide the largest amount of solar energy generation in the PUD’s service area
The Arlington Microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid.
A Community Solar program is part of the microgrid. Community Solar programs make it easier for all customers to benefit from solar energy by leasing or purchasing shares at a community site without needing a sunny roof or funding their own solar panels.
The Arlington Microgrid focuses on disaster recovery and grid resiliency. The system has been designed and sized to provide power to the PUD’s Arlington Community Office during an outage that could be caused by a major wind storm or earthquake.
“If the grid were to go down in a disaster, this building and facility would play a very important part of the PUD's response.
This will be the only sustainably powered facility in the entire service territory and would give us a huge advantage. The worst-case scenario is that a disaster might leave the grid along with the transportation infrastructure damaged for several months. The Arlington Microgrid could sustain the local office in the meantime."Scott Gibson, Project Manager
When the microgrid isn’t acting like a giant solar-powered emergency generator, it will help pay for itself by providing renewable energy integration and grid support. The microgrid also incorporates electric fleet vehicle charging stations referred to as Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G. A V2G charging station can charge the car and allow for the energy stored in the electric vehicle to flow back to the grid and provide support during an outage.
The project also features a facility – the Clean Energy Center – that will be used to demonstrate microgrid technology and help educate the public about burgeoning technologies in the energy world.
In the spring of 2022, the PUD added a solar tree. Part art installation and part renewable energy project, the solar tree is designed to demonstrate the benefits of solar power and battery storage on a small scale.
The solar tree is a structure in the shape of a small tree that generates solar power using multiple small solar panels and then stores it using an inverter and batteries. The tree’s “leaves” absorb the sunlight, convert it into electricity, and then send it through the trunk-like pillar of the structure to internal batteries. Like the microgrid, the solar tree can be tied to the grid or islanded.
Our employees designed and built the custom-fabricated steel structure that makes up the solar tree and wired up the power conversion system and small battery storage system provided by Outback Power. We also installed colorful graphics and posters to help explain to future visitors how the solar tree functions and clean energy’s many benefits to the environment.
- Received $3.5 million in funding from the Washington Clean Energy Fund
- Total project cost: $12 million
Other projects receiving funding from the Washington Clean Energy Fund include Avista Spokane Micro-Transactive Grid ($3.5 M), Energy Northwest – Richland Solar Energy Storage ($3 M), Seattle City Light Solar Microgrid ($1.5 M), and OPALCO Solar Energy Storage ($1 M).
- 2018-2019: Design & Phase I site work
- 2019: Solar Array
- 2019-2020: Clean Energy Center
- 2020 Q3: Battery Energy Storage & Microgrid Control System procurement
- 2021 Q3: Start-up, commissioning & report
- 2021-2033: Operation & study