Solar + Storage Resiliency In Action

by Anna Gretz
February 4, 2020
Energy

The country's newest solar + storage resiliency system is live in D.C.

This is a first for the district, and an exciting development for some of the area's low-income residents. The Maycroft is a new housing development in D.C., offering affordable housing to its low-income residents. The Maycroft is now offering clean, reliable power along with it.

SimphliPhi Power, Pepco, and New Partners Community Solar teamed up on the Maycroft project, after identifying a pretty dire need. The team read up on the latest research, which shows that low-income communities are the ones hardest hit by extreme weather-related power outages. Not only do they get hit the hardest, but these hits have life-threatening effects. 

Many residents living with less resources, like the elderly, are especially vulnerable when the power goes out. Not only are they more sensitive to extreme temperatures without heating or air conditioning, but they may have medical equipment or medications that rely on electricity and refrigeration. A power outage isn't just an inconvenient day without wifi... it could literally be a matter of life and death. 

That's why SimpliPhi, Pepco, and New Partners Community Solar created the Maycroft's Resiliency Center. 

How does a resiliency center work?

The goal of a resiliency system is to make sure that seamless backup power is available in the even of a grid outage. When the power goes down, stored energy can kick in, so residents don't even notice the outage. 

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This is where solar + storage comes in.

You're probably already familiar with solar power--clean, free energy from the sun captured by photovoltaic panels and converted into usable electricity. Solar panels are awesome, but when paired when energy storage, they're unstoppable. Energy storage, like lithium-ion batteries, are key to solving solar's intermittency problem. In simple terms, solar power goes off and on... because the sun rises and sets. But if excess solar can be stored during the day, it can potentially be used when the sun isn't shining. 

Or when the grid goes dark.

The Maycroft's Resiliency Center has 70.2 kW worth of rooftop solar capacity. These panels are hooked up with a battery system big enough to provide power to residence for up to three entire days. That would cover most weather-related outages. The stored electricity would kick in seamlessly, keeping Maycroft residents out of medical danger. They're calling it a resiliency center...

But it's also known as a microgrid.

Microgrids are independent sites that can generate and store their own power, independent from the wider power grid network. The solar + storage system built at The Maycroft can support the refrigeration needs of the community for both medication and food, as well as lights, kitchen facilities, fans, medical devices, and yeah, even the TVs. The microgrid can run all of this using 100% battery power, making it completely independent, and incredibly reliable. 

Not only do microgrids protect access to clean, reliable power, but they can optimize energy usage even when everything is running smoothly, power grid-wise. This is a win-win for everyone, including the utility companies. 

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D.C. did it... and so can you.

The Maycroft just created its own microgrid to protect the power of its residents. We're hoping that this model catches on for low-income communities around the country, and around the world. But solar + storage resiliency is available for everyone. 

Pairing solar panels with a home battery clearly has its benefits, but the investment can seem out of reach for most households. Swell wants to change that. That's why we created EnergyShield, a product that offers solar + storage to anyone for as low as $1 a day. 

We believe that everyone deserves protection from blackouts and the rising cost of electricity. Off-grid independence should be affordable to anyone who wants it. Swell re-structured the traditional solar + storage system, and sized it to fit most homes, all while taking advantage of the federal incentives available for energy storage customers. With EnergyShield, you get sleek, black solar panels and state-of-the-art home batteries for the lowers price in history.

If this sounds good to you, click here for a free quote. Let's talk about your next step to resiliency.