A Panasonic-led solar-plus-storage microgrid at Peña Station NEXT, a 382-acre smart and sustainable development in Denver, has earned the title of 2017 Environmental Leader Project of the Year. Project partners include Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, Xcel Energy, Denver International Airport, LC Fulenwider, Inc., and Younicos. Partners share microgrid assets and benefits in a multi-stakeholder “portfolio” model that helps the utility modernize and manage its electricity grid with innovative technologies, aids grid integration of solar PV, strengthens resilience (including through backup power) for customers and critical loads, and supports the sustainability goals of diverse organizations.
Organized by Environmental Leader magazine, a leading trade publication focused on corporate energy management, environmental and sustainability initiatives, the annual Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards recognize excellence and innovation in products, services and projects that support business’ efforts in these areas, including positively impacting the bottom line. A panel of independent judges scored projects. Peter Bussey of LNS Research headed the panel. Judges came from across the corporate environmental and sustainability space, including: ATT, Best Buy, Caesars, Fetzer Vineyards, General Motors, Kellogg, Marriott, MillerCoors, Novartis, Safeway, Sears Holdings Corporation, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and Tyco Global Products.
“We’re honored to receive this recognition from Environmental Leader,” said George Karayannis, VP of CityNOW, Panasonic’s North American smart city initiative that is a driving force for a comprehensive suite of smart and sustainable solutions deployed at transit-oriented development Peña Station NEXT. “The unique approach taken with the ‘portfolio’ microgrid at Peña Station NEXT can shed light onto replicating and scaling similar deployments in and beyond Colorado.”
The portfolio of shared assets that comprise the microgrid include:
1.6 MWdc carport solar photovoltaic (PV) system
259 kWdc rooftop solar PV array atop Panasonic’s facility
Anchor electricity load at Panasonic’s Technology and Business Solutions Center
1 MW / 2MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS)
Switching/control systems to operate the BESS and microgrid functionality
Unlike many microgrids that are behind the meter of a single entity—such as a military, corporate, or college campus—stakeholders “share” assets at Peña Station NEXT. For example, Denver International Airport owns the parking lot and carport structure; Xcel Energy owns and operates the solar PV system atop the structure under a long-term lease; Panasonic performs the operations and maintenance on the system.
The BESS, owned and operated by Xcel Energy, leverages the microgrid assets to perform a stack of five distinct but complementary use cases that aid grid integration of solar energy, improve power quality and reliability for C&I customers like Panasonic, and improve operations of Xcel Energy’s distribution grid. The ability to stack revenue through a multi-use microgrid is key to making energy storage a more cost-effective endeavor, and the project will undergo two years of testing to analyze and review real-world performance to determine the optimal setting for the rest of the battery’s estimated 10-year life span.
“Solar PV and battery energy storage systems will be core technologies in the future electricity grid,” said Jamie Evans, managing director of the Energy Solutions Group at Panasonic Enterprise Solutions. “As a global player with decades of experience in both technologies, and as a solutions-focused company with strong partnerships throughout the energy industry, Panasonic is proud to partner with our fellow stakeholders at Peña to bring innovative projects like this to life.”
True to the overarching theme of the Environmental Leader conference at which the award was announced, the solar+storage microgrid is also the latest testament of Panasonic’s commitment to corporate sustainability. For example, Panasonic ranked #5 globally in Interbrand/Deloitte’s 2014 Best Global Green Brands, and has a publicly stated sustainability ambition to become #1 by the company’s 100th birthday in 2018. Panasonic’s North American headquarters in Newark, NJ, earned both LEED Platinum and Gold certifications, and includes a rooftop solar PV system. Panasonic’s Denver operations hub that opened in September 2016 is targeting LEED Gold certification and, with the completion of a 259 kWdc rooftop solar PV system, will be at least net-zero energy.
About Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company
Denver-based Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company includes CityNOW, Panasonic’s North American smart city initiative, and the Energy Solutions Group, which focuses on large-scale solar PV project development and integrated energy solutions for telecom. Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company is a wholly-owned business unit of Newark, NJ-based Panasonic Corporation of North America, a leading technology partner and integrator to businesses, government agencies, and consumers across the region. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service, and R&D operations. Panasonic was featured in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 ranking of 50 companies that are changing the world and doing well by doing good. Specifically cited were its smart and sustainable technologies, including its contributions to smart cities and the electric vehicle revolution. Learn more about Panasonic at us.panasonic.com/news.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Younicos is a global leader for intelligent energy storage and grid solutions. Clients benefit from technical expertise, commercial know-how and in-depth experience built on 150 megawatts installed in 37 energy storage projects worldwide. The company was founded in 2005 in Berlin, Germany, and currently employs more than 130 storage experts there and in Austin, Texas (USA). For more information please visit www.younicos.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About Environmental Leader
Since 2006, Environmental Leader’s website and daily email newsletter have provided the definitive and objective voice in reporting on business-related energy, environmental, and sustainability issues. Visit: http://www.environmentalleader.com.
About the Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards
In its fifth year, the Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards recognize excellence in products and services that provide companies with energy and environmental benefits, or in corporate projects that improved environmental, sustainability or energy management and increased the bottom line. It is a five-point rating system designed to offer companies feedback and recognition.