Standard Solar, a solar company in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems, in collaboration with Solar Grid Storage, announced on September 24th that construction is complete on the solar microgrid project at Maryland-developer Konterra’s headquarters. The project, announced earlier this year, is a grid-interactive energy storage system co-located with a new 1,368 panel photovoltaic (PV) array, creating one of the nation’s first commercial scale microgrids.
This 402 kW groundbreaking system, located at Konterra’s corporate headquarters in Laurel, MD, is estimated to generate 20 percent of the building’s annual power. The canopied solar array, which includes two electric vehicle charging stations with infrastructure for four additional stations, will be dedicated by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on October 15.
“Our better choices to invest in clean energy have paid off. In Maryland, by making solar energy a priority, we went from approximately zero to nearly 1,319 times more solar on the state’s grid as well as 2,000 more solar installation jobs than in 2007,” said Governor Martin O'Malley. “We’ve set some of the most aggressive goals in the country for reducing our energy consumption, and increasing our use of renewable energy. Solar energy will diversify our energy portfolio and make us a leader in sustainable energy development.”
The project is financed by Konterra, PNC Bank and Solar Grid Storage and supported through a Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) “Game Changer” Grant. Konterra is designed to be a sustainable mixed-use community in which healthy working and living environments incorporate innovative technologies and renewable energy solutions. With Maryland’s first commercial solar microgrid installation at its headquarters Konterra will reduce its use of non-renewable natural resources, while also providing stability to the grid, green power to electric vehicles and backup power to its building during outages.
The innovative system is powered by a 402kW solar PV array that not only produces clean electricity but can also provide new benefits such as backup emergency power, demand reduction and peak shaving. In the event of a grid power outage, the Solar Grid Storage advanced energy storage system allows critical circuits at Konterra to remain energized.
The system can also enhance grid reliability by helping balance the grid through frequency regulation, volt-ampere reactive (VARs) compensation, and demand response services. According to Navigant Research, more than 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power generation capacity are expected to come online in the next 10 years. Widespread adoption of micro-grids will ensure that this huge increase in solar and wind power is effectively integrated into the national utility grid.