Microgrid to Help Produce 500,000 Pounds of Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Arugula and Herbs 

Jan. 31, 2020
Schneider Electric and Scale Microgrid Solutions are partnering on a 1.75 MW microgrid for a major indoor farm near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Schneider Electric and Scale Microgrid Solutions are partnering on a 1.75 MW microgrid for a major indoor farm near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Scale Microgrid will design, build, own, and operate the system for Fifth Season, a startup indoor farming company, using standardized microgrid modules. 

Using Schneider Electric lithium-ion battery storage, switchgear and advanced controls technology, the project will provide dynamic energy management for Fifth Season at its 60,000-square-foot farm. 

The project will include a solar array and a natural gas generator with advanced emissions controls to help Fifth Season reach its goals of growing 500,000 pounds of lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula and herbs in its first year at its first commercial farm.

The system will run in parallel with the local electric utility and in island mode during power outages.

Scale said it is financing the project using a microgrid-as-a-service business model, helping Fifth Season save capital the company can use on operational investments. 

“Fifth Season is cognizant that vertical farming facilities can be energy intensive and by pairing solar generation with batteries to work with the grid, they will enable demand response, peak shaving and time of use pricing,” said Drew Gravitt, a Schneider Electric manager.

The project will use Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor (EMA), a cloud-based, demand-side energy management software platform. The EMA uses predictive and learning algorithms, which will help Scale efficiently manage the production and use of its renewable energy.

Located at Fifth Season’s Braddock farm, the project is set to start operating in mid-2020. The partners said they expect to build several other microgrids for Fifth Season at other sites in the next three years. They previously worked together developing a microgrid for a Bowery Farming indoor farm in New Jersey.

Scale Microgrid, which focuses on commercial and industrial customers, earlier this month landed an equity commitment from private equity firm Warburg Pincus for up to $300 million.

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Ethan Howland

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