Eaton Delivers Largest Clean Energy Microgrid in Puerto Rico

April 2, 2024
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held April 2 to celebrate the new microgrid, which will deliver nearly 10 GWh of clean energy annually and cut electricity costs for Eaton’s Arecibo manufacturing facility by nearly 20%.

Eaton, an intelligent power management company, celebrated the launch of a new clean energy microgrid in Puerto Rico April 2. Located at the company’s manufacturing facility in Arecibo, the microgrid is the largest of its kind in Puerto Rico, according to a statement from the company.

The microgrid was developed in partnership with Enel North America, which built, owns and operates the system for Eaton under an energy-as-a-service agreement. It includes 5 MW of solar and approximately 1.1 MW of battery storage. It will also utilize existing on-site generators.

“With this project, Eaton is advancing its sustainable manufacturing operations in Arecibo and turns our municipality into one of the leaders on renewable energy in Puerto Rico,” said Carlos Ramírez Irizarry, mayor of Arecibo.

Eaton manufactures residential, commercial and industrial circuit breakers at the Arecibo plant.

Combining renewable energy and energy efficiency for a big impact

The system is expected to generate nearly 10 GWh of renewable energy each year, more than half the facility’s energy needs. As a result, the Arecibo plant’s emissions will be cut by 7,100 metric tons. Eaton is targeting a 50% reduction of its companywide carbon emissions by 2030.

Along with energy efficiency measures implemented by Eaton and the integration of the company’s own intelligent power management technologies, it is expected that the microgrid will reduce the plant’s energy consumption by nearly 45% and its costs by nearly 20%.

“The projects at our Arecibo manufacturing facility provide a blueprint on how to put the energy transition to work — delivering important benefits for the community and our business,” said Mike Yelton, president of the Americas Region, Electrical Sector at Eaton.

Supporting Puerto Rico’s electricity infrastructure

The Arecibo microgrid will also aid the surrounding community when Puerto Rico’s power grid, which is still recovering from a series of devastating hurricanes, is under stress. Designed to withstand Category 5 wind speeds in excess of 157 miles per hour, the microgrid can deliver renewable energy to the grid, increasing its resilience.

To further reduce the company’s emissions and bolster the resilience of Puerto Rico’s grid, Eaton and Enel North America are in the early stages of construction on a similar microgrid at Eaton’s Las Piedras manufacturing facility.

As the impacts of climate change worsen, it is critical for large energy users to power their facilities sustainably, said Matt Barnes, head of distributed energy solutions at Enel North America. “The urgency to deploy microgrids — especially in regions with vulnerable electrical infrastructure — has never been greater,” he said.

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