G&W Electric headquarters begins construction of new solar microgrid

Microgrid from above.

Global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905, G&W Electric is starting construction of a microgrid at its headquarters in Bolingbrook, Illinois. G&W Electric is installing nearly 6,000 solar panels across the company’s roof in order to generate power for the microgrid. A 1.3 MVA flywheel for ride-through power and a 2-MW flow battery that can operate at 150% of its nominal load will also be included. This system will provide the facility with 3 MW for nearly 2 hours.

“After an outage completely shut down our operations for several hours a little over two years ago, G&W Electric recognized the financial benefits of installing a microgrid to deliver uninterrupted premium power to support our critical operations as well as our customers,” said John Mueller, chairman and owner of G&W Electric. “Ultimately, this G&W Electric custom designed, turnkey microgrid solution will serve as an example of how G&W Electric can provide support to other businesses, communities and government entities to produce their own reliable source of power and prevent the costly effects of downtime during a catastrophic outage.”

Software will be used in the microgrid to participate in Frequency Regulation through PJM Interconnection. A regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity, PJM Interconnection helps to maintain grid stabilization at 60Hz.

This microgrid can serve not only as a backup in the event of an outage, but will also cut costs while allowing G&W Electric to be more energy independent and environmentally friendly.

“During peak demands for electricity, G&W Electric’s microgrid will participate in ComEd’s Voluntary Load Reduction Program and isolate itself from the grid to help reduce ComEd’s peak load demand, eliminating its energy dependency during a time when prices increase,” said Pat Avery, vice president of power grid automation for G&W Electric. “Additionally, as one of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in North America, this will also move G&W Electric toward its carbon-neutral operational goals.”

G&W Electric will leverage bifacial solar panels too. Covering more than 370,000 sq. ft, the solar panels will optimize the use of direct sunlight and reflection from the brand new and highly reflective white roof membrane, which will generate 18-20% more energy than a standard monofacial solar panel design.

“Solar energy has become a highly reliable, cost-effective source of energy for the future. Producing one’s own energy is the best method to provide premium, uninterrupted power for our critical operations to help avoid unnecessary downtime, rework and scrap leading to unhappy customers,” added Avery.

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