Award-Winning Microgrid in Brooklyn “REVolutionizes” the Electricity Market
Earlier this year, a first-of-its-kind microgrid was commissioned at the Marcus Garvey Apartment complex in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood in New York City. Like many microgrid projects, it combined renewable energy (in this case, solar PV) with battery storage, as well as a fuel cell. It’s connected to the grid and provides multiple local benefits, including clean energy generation and resiliency. The system also generates revenue and savings through demand charge reduction, capacity relief, and other grid services.
The owners of the apartment complex, L+M Development Partners, have a guiding principle to develop quality affordable, mixed-income, and market rate housing while improving the neighborhoods in which they work. As with other properties in their portfolio, L+M also sought to make the development energy efficient and reduce its carbon footprint — and an innovative microgrid was the answer.
What makes this Brooklyn microgrid unique are these attributes:
First to use lithium-ion batteries in a behind-the-meter multi-family (625 units) complex in NYC
First renewable-energy-plus-storage microgrid in a low- to middle-income housing development
First solar + storage + fuel cell microgrid, optimized to manage multiple services and revenue streams
First microgrid deployed under Consolidated Edison’s Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management Program
The industry has taken notice. Earlier this month, the Marcus Garvey microgrid project won the prestigious ESNA Innovation Award for Distributed Storage, given at the annual Energy Storage North America conference.
The award was proudly accepted by a team from Demand Energy*, the company that designed and integrated the system and developed the control software that operates it. Its successful deployment and operation are a notable proof point of the value of intelligently designed and managed multi-resource microgrids, especially in grid-constrained areas
Optimizing Benefits & Driving Revenue with Intelligent Software
This innovative microgrid consists of a 400 kW solar PV system and 400 kW fuel cell, supported by 300 kW / 1.2 MWh lithium-ion batteries and controlled by Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OSTM), which optimizes how these resources interact and perform. The system is reducing the property’s power consumption by managing the generation and storage of renewable energy to save money through demand charge reduction. It also provides resiliency during an outage, lowers operational cost, delivers essential load relief for Con Edison, and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The battery system stores solar energy during the midday period and supplies it to reduce peak loads between 8:00 pm and midnight. On days when loading is not critical, the microgrid can be used to reduce demand charges that are incurred based on Con Edison’s delivery rate. If there is a grid outage, the apartment complex’s management office and community center can be powered by the microgrid to provide local resiliency.
A key technical aspect of the project is the ability of DEN.OS to ensure that the housing development self-consumes any energy it generates, without exporting to the grid. That capability directly aligns with the utility’s Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management (BQDM) requirements, which facilitated the interconnection and permitting process.