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Boulder Housing Partners – Resiliency Project Microgrid

During spring 2018 IPS installed the very first of Boulder, Colorado’s microgrid resiliency projects for Boulder Housing Partners (BHP). (Resiliency, in this case, means continuing to be powered in perpetuity regardless of the availability of the grid and even natural gas.) 

Boulder Housing Partners inverters & battery bank

Boulder Housing Partners inverters & battery bank

This system provides backup power to critical loads at BHP’s headquarters building in the event of a power outage. Included in the backup plan is the provision of a safe power command post for emergency services such as police and fire. 

The power system consists of a 45-kilowatt hour battery bank, an 18-kilowatt, three-phase power inverter, a 6-kilowatt natural gas DC generator integrated with a 20-kilowatt solar array mounted on the roof. 

Boulder Housing Partners - solar PV modules (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)
BHP - Kohler generator
Boulder Housing Partners building - microgrid resiliency project

Tony Boniface, system designer and CEO of IPS explains: “The system is very robust and sensible. During normal times when grid power is available, the solar array produces clean power in parallel with the grid feeding power to the building, thereby displacing grid-supplied power and reducing BHP’s electric bill. During a grid outage, the system instantly takes over powering circuits that were carefully selected and wired to a critical load panel. One such important load is the entire IT system. Other critical loads include a wing of the building that has a full kitchen and power outlets for laptop computers. We also provided two EV chargers connected to the critical load panel in order to ensure ‘fuel’ for transportation even if gas stations become inoperable, which is what can happen in the event of long-term grid outages, such as in the aftermath of last year’s severe hurricanes. Many parts of Puerto Rico are still without power seven months after Hurricane Maria.”  

We had our first power outage on June 4th and it worked! The solar battery back-up system was up and running providing power during today’s outage; it was a seamless switchover.                  – Tim Beal, June 2018  (Tim is Director of Sustainable Communities for Boulder Housing Partners)