Take an In-Depth Exploration into Cummins State-of-the-Art Microgrid Testing Facility

March 26, 2024

In 2022, Cummins proudly celebrated the opening of a new microgrid laboratory, the Power Integration Center (PIC) at their campus in Fridley, MN. The PIC is one of the largest and most configurable microgrid testing facilities in the world. Regardless of your power system needs (hypothetical or planned), this marvel of a facility is built to test those possibilities in a zero-risk environment.

Since its opening, the PIC’s team of engineers have hosted hundreds of tours and simulated a myriad of testing scenarios in collaboration with customers and partners from various markets. Today they’re pulling back the curtain and providing all with an in-depth look into the facility.

“This virtual tour is the most detailed look Cummins has provided of the PIC. With it, we’ll be able to demonstrate the capabilities of the facility to customers and partners who can’t make the trip to Fridley and provide education about microgrids to a wider audience,” said Corey Bergendahl, Engineering Manager for the PIC.

Outdoor Testing Pads

The largest part of the lab’s 20,000 square foot design (about four times the area of a basketball court), the outdoor pads provide the dedicated space needed to test any source or load that can be integrated into a microgrid (ex. Gensets, Battery Energy Storage, Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers, EV Chargers, and more). The outdoor testing pads are comprised of:

  • Five 500 kW Testing Pads 
  • Two 2000 kW Testing Pads 
  • Two 500 kW RLC Load Banks 

Electrical Mezzanine

This area boasts several unique features including:

Utility Distribution Substation

  • Step-Down transformer – 13.8 kV to 480 V 
  • Two 1 MW utility feeds 
  • Distribution switchgear 

Solar Inverter Testing (Photovoltaic/PV)

  • 400 kW rooftop solar array 
  • 105 kW DC simulation power supply 
  • Programmable weather scenarios 

Bi-Directional Inverter Testing (Battery Energy Storage/BESS)

  • 120 kW battery simulator
  • Emulates different battery chemistries and size capabilities
  • Allows you to quickly adjust the state-of-charge for the virtual battery system 

Main Switchgear Room

This room houses a 2 MW switchgear lineup that’s the primary working switchgear utilized for customer simulations within the lab. The switchgear is separated into three buses with tiebreakers in-between and a ring bus around the back allowing for the creation of multiple different power system topologies including:

  • Isolated Bus 
  • Common Bus 
  • Single Transfer Pair 
  • Dual Transfer Pair 
  • Main-Tie-Main 
  • Dual Transfer Pair with Tie 

Engineering Control Room

The control room acts as the central nervous system for the whole facility. Signals from the sources, loads and connections are brought together for our team of engineers to conduct and visualize the extensive testing needed to evaluate solutions.

As governmental regulations change, the cost of operations increases, inclement weather persists and power grid instability runs rampant, the need for reliable and efficient microgrid solutions is more prevalent than ever. The PIC is an answer to those needs and allows customers to thoroughly test solutions with zero operational risk.

“The needs of our customers are ever evolving and there’s a heightened focus on dependable, flexible, economically efficient microgrid solutions,” added Bergendahl. “The PIC is our dedication to powering a cleaner future. This facility allows us to lead our customers through their decarbonization journeys, directly tying into our own Destination Zero strategy.”

Designed by Cummins Power Systems team of leading engineers and microgrid advisors, the PIC is a collaborative space for engineers, customers, technicians, sales members and microgrid enthusiasts to come together in the name of innovating for a greener future.

For more information about the Cummins Power Integration Center (PIC), visit: Power Integration Center | Cummins Inc.