Avocados & Energy Storage: Powerit’s Commercial & Industrial Microgrid Play

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commercial & industrial microgrids

Powerit and UET create an industrial microgrid at a California avocado processing center.

Powerit Solutions and UniEnergy Technologies (UET) are teaming up on an energy storage project for a California avocado company, as Powerit hones its commercial & industrial microgrid play.

Mission Produce, which has been a demand management customer of Powerit’s since 2008, is now also installing an energy storage system at its Oxnard, California processing facility.

UET will supply an advanced vanadium redox flow battery for the storage-as-a-service project. The companies expect to install the battery at the end of 2015.

Mission Produce already has saved more than $2 million since 2008 by managing its 8,300 kW load with Powerit’s software, according to a company news release.

Now the avocado company will have in place the new battery, a 1 MW solar photovoltaic installation, and Powerit’s Spara microgrid controller.

The plant will be able to use mostly solar power during peak hours, and absorb spikes in energy use through load management and battery discharging.  In addition, Mission Produce can charge the battery when solar energy is abundant or during off-peak periods. It can then discharge when the sun isn’t shining or the plant’s demand for energy rises.

“This is a flagship introduction of a flow battery into this segment of the storage market, and it will provide Mission Produce with increased peak demand reduction, the ability to arbitrage energy pricing and the ability to island their site in case of grid failure, said Gary Yang, UET president and CEO.

The project marks Powerit’s continued expansion into the commercial & industrial microgrid market with its Spara Hub microgrid controller, introduced in February. The Seattle-based company also is pitching a ‘Microgrid Partnership Ecosystem,’ a product for commercial & industrial microgrids that ties together rooftop solar, on-site energy storage and customer-side demand control and the utility grid.

“After deploying in 200 North American C&I installations, we have a proven energy automation system that can cost-effectively orchestrate all of these different elements for the benefit of both customer economics and grid stability,” said Kevin Klustner, CEO of Powerit Solutions. “And, because we’ve gotten enough recent in-bound interest in our system for commercial & industrial microgrids, we’ve decided to pursue the design of a standardized configuration offering interested customers and channel partners ‘microgrid management in a box.’

Klustner added that approaches to microgrids “are all over the map.” By offering  ‘microgrid-management-in-a-box,’ Powerit said it is creating a standardized product for customers and utilities.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com and EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.