Microgrid delivers energy security to children’s home in Puerto Rico

A collaborative project to provide energy resiliency has been completed at a Puerto Rican home for neglected children.

The three-year effort includes work and equipment from ASCO Power Technologies, Affiliated Engineers, Engineers without Borders, and Schneider Electric. The microgrid delivers energy security for the Hogar Albergue para Niños Jesús de Nazaret children’s home in Puerto Rico.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s utter devastation to the U.S. territory island’s grid, the mountaintop children’s home experienced repeated outages to electric service. The loss of power also happened routinely prior to 2017, according to the ASCO case study report.

Children’s home microgrid in Puerto Rico. Diesel-powered genset is in the middle of the buildings. Photo courtesy ASCO Technologies

Work began on the Hogar Albergue para Niños Jesús de Nazaret children’s home in 2018, with microgrid equipment installed last year. To complete the project, equipment was delivered, installed, and activated including inverters from Schneider Electric and Series 300 automatic transfer switches donated by ASCO.

“Not only was an innovative design implemented between the inverters and two-ATS combination,” says mentor Alberto G. Cordero, PE, of Affiliated Engineers. “But the collaborative spirit of all the professionals and students was inspiring and an example to follow. The Hogar’s staff and children report nothing but many thanks and appreciation.”

During utility outages, the primary transfer switch shifts load to a solar and battery storage system, according to the ASCO report. If the solar-storage system becomes depleted, a secondary transfer switch starts the engine and transfer load to the emergency diesel-powered generator.

The project components include 96 Hanwha Q+ 340-watt solar photovoltaic panels and four Blue Ion 2.0 50-Vdc lithium-ion batteries, rated at 16 kWh each. Schneider provided two 6.8-kW and two 5.5-kW Context XW+ inverters,

The University of Wisconsin’s student chapter of Engineers without Borders (pictured) and Affiliated Engineers of Madison, Wisc. worked together on developing and overseeing the children’s home microgrid project.

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