Data driven decisions ensure that your renewable energy assets produce exceptional results. We find the intersection of economically viable and technically feasible energy solutions. We’ve worked on an extensive portfolio of projects across the USA and around the world with a diverse set of best-in-class partners. We can help you too.
- Native American / First Nations Energy Projects
- Resilient Power Projects
- Grid-tied Solar Energy Projects
- Community Solar Projects
- Remote / Islanded Microgrids and Minigrids
- Military / DoD
Native American / First Nations Energy Projects
Native American reservations are prime candidates for resilient energy projects for a variety of reasons. They are often located in remote places with low population densities, meaning that their communities are often located far from their neighboring towns and cities. As a result, they are likely served electricity by their local utility using long radial distribution lines, and are therefore more prone to service disruptions after storms or natural disasters. Compounding matters, the relatively low number of customers at these sites means that restoring service to these areas may not be the top priority, at least in cases where the storm damage was widespread. As a result, Indian reservations may be both more susceptible to power outages, and the power outages they do experience may be of a longer duration.
We have worked with multiple Native American tribes to help them evaluate how renewable energy such as solar photovoltaics, battery energy storage, or wind can help them improve the sustainability of their communities while lowering the costs of electricity to their residents. We believe this represents a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of this important segment of the population. Here are two of our most recent tribal energy project.
Can we help your tribe improve the sustainability of your reservation? Contact us for more information.
Quinault Indian Nation Microgrid, Taholah, Washington
The Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) is a tribal community located on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Due to climate change and its proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the tribal village of Taholah (population 850) is under threat from tsunamis, storm surge and riverine flooding. The tribe is therefore in the planning stages of a $60 million effort to relocate the community to higher, safer ground and in the process making them some of the world’s first climate change refugees.
Proposed relocation area of the Quinault Indian Nation (Courtesy QIN)
Although moving an entire community away from the place where your people have lived for generations is obviously a daunting — not to mention emotional — process, it does offer a blank slate on which to design the ideal community. And the QIN is taking the opportunity to do just that by exploring ways in which they can make their community more sustainable, resilient, and while also lowering their utility costs.
Through a project led by our partners at Bonneville Environmental Foundation, muGrid Analytics has performed a techno-economic feasibility analysis of how solar and storage could be included in the design of the new community for both cost savings and enhanced resiliency.
Red Cliff Tribe Community Microgrid, Red Cliff, Wisconsin
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is a tribal community located on shores of Lake Superior in Bayfield Country, Wisconsin. The tribe operates the Red Cliff fish hatchery and the Legendary Waters Resort and Casino, as well as a health clinic. The remote nature of the reservation has caused the tribe to consider the possibility of developing their own microgrid comprised of solar, storage, and conventional generation. They envision augmenting some of their existing facilities with resilient power systems such that they could be used as a community resilience hub during a protracted natural disaster. The integrated resilient power system would also provide utility cost savings to the tribe during normal operation.
The Legendary Waters Resort and Casino on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation (Courtesy of Red Cliff Tribe)
With our partners Chequamegon Bay Renewables and Baker Tilly, and with support from the Department of Energy Solar in Your Community Challenge, muGrid Analytics performed a techno-economic feasibility study which determined the optimal sizing and dispatching of multiple potential solar plus storage projects at the reservation. We performed a load analysis based on their historical and projected usage, determined the utility cost savings to the tribe, the resulting economic return, and then analyzed the resilience that these systems could provide when integrated with existing diesel generators that are already at the site.
Resilient Power Projects
We think of energy projects as being on a spectrum. At one end, there are projects that are done purely for economic purposes. These grid-tied projects are only capable of operating when the utility grid is functioning, which of course is most of the time. But when the grid goes down, they shut down as well. So while these projects definitely lower your carbon footprint, and save you money on utility bills, they don’t actually improve your resilience since they can’t be used during a power outage.
On the other end of the spectrum are backup power projects. These projects might consist of an uninterruptible power supply system, or a diesel generator, that ensures that a data center can continue to operate without missing a beat if a storm knocks out power to the facility. But these systems are purely an insurance policy in so much that they don’t contribute anything during normal operation.
In the middle of this, and probably the most exciting projects we work on, are resilient energy projects. Resilient energy systems are those that can be used during normal operation for cost savings and can also be used to provide backup power during grid outages. They are really the best of both worlds, and are rightfully attracting a lot of attention.
Here are few of our most recent resilient energy projects. Can we help you evaluate whether resilient energy makes sense for your facility? Please contact us.
PUSH School 77, Buffalo, New York
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo and the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Corp are redeveloping the former Buffalo Public School Number 77 into a mixed use facility in the West Side neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The School 77 project will transform the currently vacant building into 30 affordable senior housing units, office space, community space, a community recreational gymnasium, and an auditorium for a local theater company.
Buffalo Public School 77 is being redeveloped by PUSH Buffalo (Courtesy of Buffalo Rising)
With our partners American Microgrid Solutions and Clean Energy Group, muGrid Analytics analyzed the techno-economic feasibility of using a solar plus storage system for utility bill savings and enhanced resiliency at the renovated building. We first used the NYSERDA Solar Value Stack Calculator to estimate the monetary compensation that the rooftop community solar array could be expected to generate under the state’s new Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) program. We then evaluated the potential for behind-the-meter battery energy storage to perform peaking using our Redcloud energy optimization platform. Finally, we evaluated the potential for using such an economically-driven solar + storage system, in combination with planned firm generation, to provide enhanced resiliency at the facility.
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly
Greater Boston, Massachusetts
The Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) provides safe and affordable independent housing where older adults of all backgrounds can age in community around the Boston area.
With our partners American Microgrid Solutions and Clean Energy Group, muGrid Analytics analyzed the techno-economic feasibility of using a solar plus storage system for utility bill savings and enhanced resiliency at both the JCHE Brighton campus (including the Ulin, Leventhal, and Genesis buildings) and the JCHE Coleman house facility.
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly Coleman House (Courtesy of JCHE)
We adapted our Redcloud energy optimization model to include the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program compensation structure, since the proposed solar plus storage systems at these facilities will be some of the first to be installed under the new scheme. This allowed us to accurately estimate the compensation that the proposed solar array would receive, and also to co-optimize the battery sizing and dispatching for behind-the-meter peak shaving, while also capturing the SMART program adder for battery storage. We then evaluated the enhanced resiliency that the hybrid solar plus storage system could provide when combined with planned (or existing) fixed generation in an islanded microgrid.
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly Brighton Campus (Courtesy of JCHE)
Princeton Windrows Independent Living Community
Princeton, New Jersey
The Princeton Windrows independent living community is comprised of three interconnected buildings containing apartment-style condominiums as well as dispersed villas and townhomes just outside of the city. The community currently relies on diesel generators to provide backup power in the case of a grid outage. But after Hurricane Sandy and other major storms have hit the east coast in the past few years, they are interested in exploring and quantifying the enhanced resiliency that a combined solar, storage, and diesel microgrid could provide.
With our partner American Microgrid Solutions, muGrid Analytics is helping Princeton Windrows analyze their options for enhancing the resiliency of their campus. We have helped them think through what resiliency means to them, including how they might envision their daily operations in the days and weeks following a natural disaster that causes and extended grid outage. This includes helping them to analyze their critical loads, their onsite fuel reserves, and then determining the optimal sizing of solar, storage, and generation systems that would help them achieve these goals at minimum life cycle cost.
Princeton Windrows independent living community (Courtesy of Princeton Windrows)
Seat Pleasant Smart City Project
Seat Pleasant, Maryland
Located on the western edge of Washington, DC, the city of Seat Pleasant, Maryland aims to establish themselves as a Smart City of Excellence. They have partnered with IBM Smarter Cities to develop an Intelligent Operations Center which will provide city managers and leaders a holistic, operational view across all departments. In addition to using data to improve security, safety, and social services, the city also seeks to improve their resilience, particularly during natural disasters when the electricity grid may be comprised. When completed, Seat Pleasant will demonstrate that smaller cities — they have a population of 5,000 — can be smart cities too.
muGrid Analytics, with our partners American Microgrid Solutions and Clean Energy Group, is helping Seat Pleasant evaluate the feasibility of incorporating solar plus storage on their city building. The solar plus storage system would reduce utility costs for the city during normal operation, and then, along with potential conventional generation, be able to island into a microgrid to supply backup power during a grid outage.
Urban Sustainability Directors Network resilience hubs
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) connects local government practitioners to accelerate urban sustainability in U.S. and Canadian communities. Member governments of the USDN are leading the way to a sustainable, low-carbon future by developing, adopting, and sharing practices that create equitable and prosperous communities and a healthy environment.
muGrid Analytics, with our partner American Microgrid Solutions, is helping the USDN evaluate the techno-economic feasibility of resilience hubs which are community buildings augmented to support residents — typically in the most vulnerable communities — and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during or after a disaster. USDN Resilience Hubs are also envisioned to be mechanisms for community revitalization and community empowerment.
We are developing a framework which USDN communities can use to assess the viability of a resilience hub project, which includes analyzing the normal operating loads, critical loads, utility rate tariffs, and solar availability. We have used our Redcloud energy modeling platform to evaluate optimal hybrid solar PV, storage, and firm generation options that could be deployed at candidate resilience hub sites. These systems would provide cost savings benefits during the normal grid-connected operations, but then be able to island to provide critical backup power during disasters.
USDN member communities
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Resilient Service Stations Project
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many gas stations were unable to pump fuel from underground tanks due to a lack of power. MassCEC is focusing on increasing the resiliency of service stations by exploring the use of renewables and batteries, possibly in combination with diesel generators, to avoid such a situation in the future.
Dr. Simpkins performed much of the initial resiliency modeling which helped prove the concept. This led MassCEC to launch a Request for Information (RFI) and a Request for Proposals (RFP) to demonstrate the concept of resilient service stations in the state.
Grid-tied Solar Energy Projects
Hyatt Regency Maui
The Hyatt Regency Maui energized one of the largest roof top solar arrays on the island of Maui in 2016. The 598-kW system provides in excess of 6% of the resorts energy needs. Under a subcontract with Resort Energy Ventures, muGrid Analytics performed the solar feasibility study for the project including the building the business case for the project. muGrid is now contracted to provide monthly performance monitoring to insure that the system produces at peak efficiency.
Solar array on Hyatt Regency Maui
Fairmont Kea Lani
The Fairmont Kea Lani energized a 500-kW roof-top solar array in 2016. Under a subcontract from Resort Energy Ventures, we completed the feasibility study and are now contracted to provide monthly performance monitoring to insure the system continues to perform at peak efficiency.
Fairmont Kea Lani solar array
AvalonBay is the second largest exchanged-listed apartment real estate investment trust (REIT) in the US with multi-family housing communities on both the east and west coasts. muGrid Analytics, in collaboration with our partners, is helping AvalonBay develop solar projects across their portfolio as part of their commitment to sustainability. muGrid Analytics used big data techniques and our Redcloud energy optimization platform to efficiently analyze over 280 communities in the AvalonBay portfolio for solar potential. Mark Delisi, Director of Corporate Responsibility at AvalonBay, describes their approach to solar development in this video with REIT.com.
Community Solar Projects
Community solar projects are solar arrays where the benefits are shared by multiple subscribers. In essence, subscribers pay a fee to participate, and then receive monetary credits that offset some of their utility bill. The subscribers may be residential customers who might not own their own house but still want to receive the benefits of solar, or more recently, small commercial customers who also may not own their own space. In either case, these customers receive the benefits of solar without the upfront capital expense. These projects may be collectively owned by the subscribers, or more commonly owned by a third-party who handles the financing, operation, and tracking of the production.
Many community solar projects are aimed at bringing the benefits of solar to low-to-moderate income residential customers who may not otherwise be able to benefit from the ongoing solar proliferation. muGrid Analytics was selected as a Technical Consultant for the Department of Energy Solar in Your Community Challenge and has been providing techno-economic advisory and financial modeling services to a variety of teams in the the competition.
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Solar Project, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester turned to muGrid Analytics to help them understand the incentives available for solar and storage as they pursue their community solar project under the DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge. In particular, they wanted to understand the complex, yet lucrative, compensation that community solar receives under the newly adopted Massachusetts SMART program.
We are excited to see their project progress and benefit the members of their community.
Remote or Islanded Microgrid and Minigrid Projects
Utility-scale Minigrid in the Democratic Republic of Congo
muGrid Analytics performed a techno-economic feasibility analysis of 5 MW hybrid power plant which would provide electricity for 6000-8000 residential and small commercial customers that currently lack access to utility power. We used our Redcloud energy optimization platform to determine the optimal sizing and dispatching of battery energy storage to pair with a 5 MW solar array and diesel generation which would optimize the economic return for the project developer. This included considering all capital, operating, and fuel costs of the solar, storage, and diesel generation equipment.
Using historical time-series solar radiation data from SolarGIS, we also analyzed how the proposed system configuration would have performed given the specific weather conditions which occurred at the site over the past 25 years. This analysis indicated that the year-to-year variability in solar production at this location is actually modest and thus the hybrid power plant should be expected to have consistent financial performance.
Solar potential in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Courtesy SolarGIS)
Resorts in Baja California, Mexico
muGrid Analytics, in partnership with ReCon Associates, is performing microgrid feasibility studies for multiple greenfield resorts in Baja California Sur. These resorts face challenges obtaining sufficient, reliable power from the local utilities which can make grid-connected microgrids an economically viable option. These systems can also provide when the main electrical is comprised during severe weather, as happened during Hurricane Odile in 2015. Many of these expect to purify water onsite which affords an opportunity to optimize the energy-water nexus by using renewables such as solar to treat water during the day when the sun is shining, and then store it for use at night.
We are providing optimized grid-connected microgrid configurations, including water treatment and storage, using our Redcloud energy optimization platform.
Military Base Renewable Energy or Microgrid Projects
Spanning his career at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and now at muGrid Analytics, Dr. Travis Simpkins has consulted on some of the most significant microgrids and renewable energy projects built to date.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor – Hickam
The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is building a series of interconnected microgrids at Pearl Harbor as a testbed to demonstrate the potential increased resiliency they can provide. Design of the project has been awarded to Burns & McDonnell by the the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies (HCATT), part of the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC). Through a subcontract with MilTech, muGrid Analytics has been engaged to provide tech scouting of potential energy storage technologies and fuel cell options that may be used in the design.
Solar array at Joint Base Pearl Harbor – Hickam
Joint Base Cape Cod / Otis Air National Guard Base
Dr. Simpkins advised on the early economic modeling for the energy storage system.
Pacific Missile Range Facility
Located on the island of Kauai, PMRF is evaluating the installation of a 44 MW solar array along with a storage battery that will both reduce costs and increase the energy security of the facility. It will also provide power to much of the island by feeding electricity onto Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s energy grid.
Dr. Simpkins advised on the techno-economic modeling for the base.
Map of PMRF courtesy of US Navy
Fort Hunter Liggett
Fort Hunter Liggett, an army base in California, is combining a 2 MW solar array with a 1 MWh battery to form a grid-connected microgrid. The system will reduce utility cost during normal operation with the capability to island during grid outages.
Dr. Simpkins assisted with the dispatch optimization for the solar plus storage system.
Fort Hunter Liggett Battery
Naval Support Activity Crane
Landlocked 30 miles southwest of Bloomington, Indiana, NAS Crane is the third largest naval facility in the world. The project consists of a 145 acre, 17 MW solar array that is a joint effort between the Navy and Duke Energy which will operate the plant. The electricity produced will be used to power the surrounding community during normal operation, but will be directed inward to help provide critical power to the base during an emergency grid outage.
Dr. Simpkins assisted during the early stages of the energy modeling and resiliency analysis.
17 MW NSA Crane solar array