A new white paper from Mesa Solutions explores how a microgrid can save schools and universities money by reducing downtime costs, energy costs and environmental costs.
According to Mesa Solutions, “When it comes to why schools are a particularly good place for saving money with microgrids, it’s important to take the path of stone-cold economics: downtime costs, energy costs and environmental costs.” K-12 schools and universities spend upward of $22 billion a year on energy costs and much of those costs are incurred during peak demand periods when energy prices are higher. “Peak demand charges can be as much as 70% of total monthly charges,” according to the report. The author explains that the flexibility of a microgrid can help lower costs because it “can simply be programmed to generate electricity during times of higher cost.”
Downtime for schools and universities is another area where microgrids can help reduce the associated risks and costs. Local schools often serve as community gathering places during times of crisis, and many colleges and universities support high-tech and medical research facilities. These factors make the reliability provided by a microgrid very appealing. The author reports that “depending on the size of the microgrid, it can keep an entire school district powered without using utility power – powering, at least, essential buildings and functions while utility power is unreliable.” Mesa Solutions explains how both Princeton University and the Santa Barbara Unified School District are using microgrids for resilience.
“Hundreds of colleges, universities and community schools have pledged to become carbon-neutral within the next couple of decades. As locations of research and development, there are few better places to operate cutting-edge, modern technology like a microgrid.” — Mesa Solutions, “How Microgrids Save Schools Money“
Environmental costs are another factor that make campus microgrid deployment appealing to schools and universities. The paper explores how Northeastern University and Tufts University have developed microgrids with sustainability in mind.
Mesa Solutions also provides information in the white paper on how schools and universities can pay for a campus microgrid, including a look at what the Illinois Institute of Technology has done.