Feature image credit: Schneider Electric.
In February 2017, Schneider Electric and Duke Energy Renewables agreed to build an advanced microgrid to ensure more resilient and efficient power at the Public Safety Headquarters (PSHQ) in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Public Safety Headquarters is the county’s largest, at nearly 400,000 square feet, and its surrounding campus is a long-term investment for Montgomery County. The PSHQ houses police and fire dispatch and administration, holding cells, evidence lockers, forensic laboratories, data and call centers, and training facilities—critical operations for the county, which makes reliable power a must.
The PSHQ received upgrades in infrastructure, as well as clean on-site power generation through a solar energy system and natural gas generators that enable uninterrupted public services during emergencies. The microgrid also has “island mode operation,” which allows facilities to separate from the electric grid and continue to operate at or near normal capacity during power outages.
The microgrid is funded by Schneider Electric's innovative Microgrid-as-a-Service (MaaS) business model, which allowed Montgomery County to complete construction at the PSHQ without any upfront costs. The county has a special power purchase agreement to help pay for the microgrid through lower-cost clean energy generation.
The project has achieved significant benefits through their energy efficiency measures, with cumulative annual effects including:
- Saving 12 million units of energy
- Mitigating 11 kilotons of carbon emissions
- Saving $486,000 in operating and maintenance costs
Schneider Electric plays a comprehensive role in designing and implementing this solution, including microgrid protection control and optimization, electrical equipment, distributed energy resource (DER) management, electrical design services, cybersecurity and network design. Duke Energy Renewables owns the microgrid, and its affiliate, REC Solar, built the solar system. Schneider Electric assists Duke Energy Renewables in operating the microgrids.