Raytheon Military Microgrid Project Maximizes Solar, Minimizes Fossil Fuels

March 7, 2015
Raytheon has demonstrated how a military microgrid can offer highly reliable energy even while using 100 percent solar energy, according to the company and testing partners.

Raytheon has demonstrated how a military microgrid can offer highly reliable energy even while using 100 percent solar energy, according to the company and testing partners.

The islandable project showed how to use an energy storage system-driven microgrid with conventional photovoltaic inverters to achieve 100 percent PV penetration while retaining the power quality needed to satisfy critical facility loads, the defense contractor said.

This kind of system maximizes use of solar energy and minimizes the need to rely upon fossil fuel generators. The result is lower operational costs, logistical burden and carbon emissions, according to Raytheon, which worked with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Primus Power, and Advanced Energy on the test microgrid.

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The testing effort, conducted at NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility, incorporated Primus Power’s EnergyPod 706kVA powertrain, two AE 100kW solar inverters and Raytheon’s Intelligent Power and Energy Management (IPEM) Microgrid Controller.

Raytheon said that its microgrid controller provides key supervisory control functions, employing model-based control methods to coordinate operation of microgrid resources and perform advanced energy management. These capabilities provide safe and reliable microgrid operation while maximizing efficiency via optimal use of renewable resources (e.g., PV) that would otherwise be unavailable during off-grid operation, according to the company.

The demonstration validated equipment that serve as the basis of an Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP)-funded demonstration system, which will be fielded at the military microgrid at the  Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in mid-2015.

Raytheon’s  microgrid controller is designed to enhance energy management for the Department of Defense by improving  energy security and efficiency, according to the defense contractor.

The military microgrid market will produce more than 54.8 MW of capacity by 2018, according to a report from Red Mountain Insights, “Military Microgrids Market Potential.” More than 40 US military bases have microgrids in operation or are planning or studying them.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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