Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP), Emera Technologies and Pepco are driving a microgrid project for residential buildings in a zero-zero low-to-middle-income subdivision with the support of a $ 200,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). .
The grant will support a community solar and battery energy storage system and associated shelving, assembly and cabling equipment for six homes in Fairmount Heights, Maryland.
The project will use the plug-and-play microgrid system from Emera Technologies BlockEnergyThis enables households to share the combined renewable energy generation. According to MEA, the community microgrid system also offers reliability and failure safety for the neighborhood.
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“The BlockEnergy microgrid is a utility-centric system that easily scales to meet new residential growth and enables utility companies to manage distributed municipal energy with a single control point,” said Rob Bennett, CEO from Emera Technologies on April 29th.
The microgrid will include homes that meet the US Department of Energy's Zero Ready Energy standards and the Passive House Institute's PHIUS + 2018 certification standard for highly efficient passive houses.
According to Peabody & Fine Architects, the architect behind HIP, bundling the project's solar resources into a microgrid, rather than installing and connecting solar panels to the grid in every home, could lower initial investment costs and increase energy generation efficiency.
HIP, a non-profit, environmentally friendly and affordable property developer, expects to start laying the groundwork in the fall in the first phase of development. The developer will market the homes to first-time buyers who earn 80% or less of the area median income.
As part of a three-year pilot, Pepco, a Washington, DC-based utility company, will collect data for specific metrics related to the microgrid and its potential benefits for the distribution system.
Pepco announced that it will share the details of the design, goals, proposed metrics, and timelines associated with the pilot with the Maryland Public Service Commission, community members, and the public later this year.
The project offers a model for other microgrids
The Fairmount Heights Net Zero community will serve as a model for widespread adoption across Maryland, according to MEA.
“Supporting the development of new and affordable clean energy homes for low- to middle-income first time buyers is a sustainable model Maryland can build on,” said Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland.
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Peabody & Fine Architects said the project is a model for “a future community-based, distributed energy network”.
Last year the pilot project received $ 100,000 in funding for its design phase through the MEA's Resilient Maryland program.
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