Installation of an innovative new AC/DC nanogrid at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Keating Sports Center has been completed by Aquion Energy, Schneider Electric, and Azimuth Energy.
The nanogrid installation was designed and installed primarily by the engineering and construction firm Azimuth Energy, which is primarily focused on solar energy and energy efficiency projects. The installation is a solar PV + energy storage system utilizing Aquion Energy’s Adoen batteries and Schneider Electric’s power control electronics for energy management (the Conext XW+ 6848 Hybrid Inverter, and the Conext XW MPPT80-600 Charge Controller, amongst others).
“This is the future of distributed generation, where isolated loads powered by renewables combined with energy storage can stand alone and operate without the grid,” commented Tim Poor, chief commercial officer of Aquion Energy. “Our safe and sustainable Aspen batteries are the optimal choice for long-duration storage and deep daily cycling, from nanogrids like this one at IIT to microgrids, island communities, and other nanogrids such as telecom base stations.”
The press release provides more: “Although the Keating nanogrid has a connection to the campus microgrid, it is engineered to operate autonomously using only solar and batteries, as an islanded off-grid system. The nanogrid is a demonstration of how a solar plus storage system can provide resilient electricity for critical building loads during power outages, such as police stations and hospitals. In the case of an outage, any building with a nanogrid could continue to be powered by its own sustainable, self-generated electricity. The nanogrid also allows building operators to respond to their power demand and control how and when they use power from the microgrid — and ultimately from the utility.”
One of the main distinguishing factors of the new IIT nanogrid is that it supports both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) loads. In other words, it allows for the direct power job of the DC LED lighting systems through the solar PV system, while simultaneously producing AC loads and charging the batteries.