View this news release in American Sign Language.
Washington, D.C., April 14, 2022: Gallaudet University, the world’s premier institution of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing students, has partnered with Scale Microgrid Solutions and Urban Ingenuity to build a world-class, clean energy microgrid on its campus in Northeast Washington.
A microgrid is a system that combines multiple sources of electricity and can operate independently or collaboratively with the grid. The project sets a new standard for clean, resilient energy in the heart of the Nation’s Capital. The microgrid will deliver reliable energy for the campus and significantly reduce the university’s utility costs. Expected to go online by Fall 2023, the project will meet much of the university’s energy demand, provide clean power to the surrounding community, and relieve congestion on the city’s electricity grid.
“After several years of careful planning, we are excited that this transformational project is becoming a reality,” said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. “The microgrid will help Gallaudet meet the energy challenges of the 21st century. Gallaudet has been an anchor in the District for 158 years, and we are proud to be building an energy system that will benefit the community.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Gallaudet University on a truly breakthrough system that not only will deliver valuable resiliency benefits for the university but also provide the surrounding community with access to cleaner energy,” said Ryan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Scale Microgrid Solutions.
The system will work in parallel with the utility to power the campus and, in the event of a grid outage, will provide nearly all the University’s electricity needs, allowing campus operations to continue with minimal disruption. In addition, electricity generated by the solar arrays will be available to Washington, D.C. residents, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses through the District of Columbia community solar program. Through this offering, as many as 1,500 nearby households or small businesses that lack the roof space or capital to install solar panels will be able to purchase solar energy generated at Gallaudet.
“With this ground-breaking project, Gallaudet University is demonstrating that clean and resilient infrastructure offers a vital source of innovation and growth for the National Capital region and the nation,” said Bracken Hendricks, CEO of Urban Ingenuity, the microgrid architect serving as financial and technical advisor in developing this system. “As a flagship educational institution for Washington, D.C. and as a cornerstone of the global deaf and hard of hearing community, Gallaudet deserves tremendous credit for providing the vision and leadership required to build climate solutions, while ensuring a more just and resilient local community. We are honored to be part of this world-class team.”
The project’s participation in the D.C. community solar program is made possible through extensive collaboration with Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). Typically, on-site community solar projects connect to the grid directly, skipping the home or building's power infrastructure entirely. However, in this case, the electricity production from the solar panels distributed across Gallaudet's campus is being tracked and allocated for community solar credits, despite being connected to the university's own electrical infrastructure. This "virtual front of the meter" approach let Scale develop the project without the need for extensive cabling costs that would be required to aggregate these many distributed solar systems and connect them directly to PEPCO's grid. Instead, they simply connect to the nearest power panel and PEPCO tracks the output through sensors and software.
The microgrid consists of 2.5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels spread across numerous campus rooftops and parking garages, a 1.2MW/2.5MWh Tesla Megapack, and 4.5MW combined cooling, heat, and power (CCHP) system. Advanced microgrid controls ensure that these components work seamlessly together and with the broader power grid.
Scale Microgrid Solutions will design, build, and operate this project with a consortium of industry-leading technology and contracting collaborators, including Urban Ingenuity, Schneider Electric, Tesla, Mitsubishi, CHA Consulting, and New Columbia Solar.
About Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,400 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors, as well as a multitude of master’s and doctoral degree programs. Gallaudet also conducts research in various fields, including accessible technology, Deaf history and culture, Black Deaf history and culture, brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, and psychology.
About Scale Microgrid Solutions
Scale is a vertically integrated distributed energy platform, with a core focus of designing, building, financing, owning, and operating cutting-edge distributed energy assets that offer cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient power. Scale’s team of energy and financing experts accelerate growth in distributed energy projects by providing financing to technology providers, energy developers, and OEMs, while also directly helping large energy-consuming customers take charge of their energy infrastructure and future-proof their businesses.
About Urban Ingenuity
Urban Ingenuity (UI) is a local business headquartered in Washington, D.C. with over 10 years of experience financing and developing clean energy projects that promote economic development and build just, green, and resilient neighborhoods. UI oversees the D.C. Property Assessed Clean Energy (DC PACE) financing program for the D.C. Green Bank. UI’s track record includes successful deployment of community solar and microgrid projects, and directly structuring over $100 million of clean energy assets in the nation’s capital and around the country with a special focus on projects that promote social equity and housing affordability.
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