Staar Surgical, a contact lens manufacturer, has installed a rooftop solar microgrid atop its production facility in Lake Forest, California to reduce energy costs and prevent operational downtime in the event of a grid outage.
The 1.1 MW grid-tied microgrid – designed, installed, and maintained by ReVamp Energy – is powered by a 780-kW rooftop solar array paired with SolarEdge DC-optimized inverters. The system was installed on the facility’s roof and two adjacent carports.
The system features 1,752 modules and is projected to reduce Staar Surgical’s electricity costs by 50%, representing an annual savings of nearly $325,000. The microgrid will also help prevent further losses incurred by spoiled production runs due to power outages occurring during the manufacturing process.
“Manufacturing contact lenses is a highly energy-intensive process that requires each lens to be heated in an industrial kiln continuously for several days,” said Jay Cutting, Sr., President of Building and Solar Contractor at ReVamp Energy. “Any reduction in power of more than a few seconds has the potential to ruin an entire production run, leading to losses of potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars.
“The increasing frequency of red flag weather events in California necessitated that Staar Surgical address the mission-critical challenge of identifying a cost-effective and sustainable method to safeguard production.”
Any excess solar production will be stored using a 450-kW battery, which can provide up to 24 hours of backup power, depending on the facility’s load requirements. The company also opted to install a generator to ensure production schedules can be maintained.
In addition to providing the microgrid, ReVamp Energy also designed custom-made switchgear that automatically switch the site’s energy supply to utilize the generated backup power in the event of a power outage.
The monitoring platform was provided by SolarEdge, allowing Staar Surgical and ReVamp Energy to analyze key parameters – such as solar energy production, consumption, and battery energy levels – in real time.