As Florida Power and Light (FPL) builds its third microgrid this year, the FPL Evolution Hub, the company says it is learning more about microgrid technology, which could hold significant benefits for reliability during storms. The company is exploring new, and what it describes as possibly better, designs for solar, energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
The FPL Evolution Hub in Riviera Beach, Florida, is being built with a 5-MW microgrid, charged by a PV solar array with a 7.5 MW/15 MWh stationary battery backup. It also has two mobile EV trailers — each containing a 650 kW/1.3 MWh battery paired with six EV chargers.
FPL already operates 42 large-scale solar energy centers in the state and uses two types of panels: fixed or tracking. Fixed panels typically face southwest or southeast, while panels on tracking systems follow the sun from east to west.
With the 5-MW solar array on-site at Riviera Beach, FPL staff can test the benefits of a new design with fixed panels facing east and west. This design could pave the way for similar installations in the future.
FPL’s Evolution Hub is also home to two separate energy storage systems: A 7.5 MW/15 MWh stationary battery and two mobile EV trailers each containing a 650 kW/1.3 MWh battery. Both energy storage applications will be charged from the 5-MW solar array and will provide further insight into integrating solar and energy storage.
By storing excess energy from the sun, customers can enjoy the benefits of solar energy even when the sun isn’t shining — at night or on a cloudy day.
The two, 28-foot mobile EV charging stations will be able to provide clean energy on the go. The mobile EV trailers will each carry a fully charged battery.
The EV chargers will be stationed at FPL’s West Palm Beach service facility, where EV fleet drivers can charge their vehicles. EV charging trailers will help during public emergencies or in evacuation situations, such as hurricanes.
Since the EV can charge the microgrid and the microgrid can charge the EV, each can operate autonomously — and will work regardless of any power outages or issues that affect the larger grid.
Each trailer has six DC fast chargers, which means they will charge up to 12 cars at one time. FPL plans to energize the project in mid-2022.
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