Micro-Grid / Smart Grid Systems

Wattworks Westerville Smart Grid

The City of Westerville Electric Division has secured a grant from the American Public Power Association (APPA) Demonstration of Energy Efficient Developments (DEED) in the amount of $75,000 for the purpose of installing and demonstrating seven energy management appliances that integrate clean, renewable, solar energy; energy storage and load management in a project entitled “Smart Grid and Solar Power for Public Power Utility Consumers.” The seven, energy management appliances, manufactured by GridPoint, Inc., will be installed on the premises of seven different Westerville electric consumers – six commercial sites and one residential site. To be eligible to participate in the project, consumers must fund the installation of a 3,500 watt (3.5kW) photovoltaic (solar) array.

The City of Westerville Electric Division will fund the installation of the seven GridPoint Connect energy management appliances at an approximate cost of $22,000 each. Watt Works, Inc., a Columbus-based energy efficiency engineering consulting firm and the local GridPoint, Inc. vendor, will serve as Westerville’s contractor providing turnkey services to supply, install, and  commission the seven GridPoint Connect to devices. Watt Works Inc. will also provide the seven 3.5kW solar arrays, which will be purchased by the consumer project participants, at an estimated installed cost of $30,000 each.

Each consumer project participant facility will be provided an Energy Analysis to highlight energy efficiency measures with the costs and paybacks spelled out. Energy use avoided is always the most cost effective power source, and most buildings can save 15 to 20% of their energy costs by investing in the right conservation measures that will take less than 5 years to pay for themselves. The study includes providing a detailed Energy Analysis by the project contractor, Watt Works Inc., and reduces energy needs in parallel with the load timing and solar supply portions of the project. Implementation of the conservation recommendations is outside the scope of this project and up to the user, but the participants in the study will be advised of the value in reducing their energy costs.

Depending on the tax status of the end-user, their solar panel installation may be eligible to receive a 30% tax credit from Federal and IRS rules that allow an accelerated depreciation schedule. This effectively reduces the initial cost, estimated conservatively at $30,000 for a 3,500 watt (3.5kW) solar array.

Good reasons to link the GridPoint Connect and solar panel installations, which are otherwise only loosely dependent upon each other for savings, are to take advantage of the capabilities within the GridPoint Connect equipment to monitor and control the solar power production, and to use the GridPoint Connect internal inverter capacity to reduce the hardware costs for the solar installations. Linking these aspects into one project also has promotional value and could substantially reduce Westerville’s cost of managing the projects and addresses the issues of power supply all at once.
-Andy Boatright, Westerville Electric

Wattworks smart grid wiring diagram

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