Enel, Eaton complete Puerto Rico’s largest green microgrid

Eaton manufacturing facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico The microgrid system is expected to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of Eaton’s circuit breaker manufacturing facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Eaton)

Clean energy provider Enel North America and Eaton announced the completion of what they said is Puerto Rico’s largest clean energy microgrid. The system, located at Eaton’s manufacturing facility in Arecibo, combines a 5-MWac solar system with a 1.1-MW battery storage and existing onsite generators.

By generating and storing clean energy independently from the external power grid, the microgrid is expected to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturing facility, which makes circuit breakers used in homes, buildings and industrial applications. The solar power system is expected to generate nearly 10 GWh of renewable energy each year – more than half of the facility’s energy needs – to avoid approximately 7,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and reduce costs by nearly 20%, said Enel. Eaton also implemented efficiency measures using its intelligent power management technologies to reduce its energy footprint, Eaton added.

The microgrid is designed to withstand Category 5 strength hurricane-force winds and provides added value in normal grid-connected operations by generating renewable energy that can be consumed, stored and delivered back to the local grid to reduce stress on the island’s utility infrastructure, the companies noted.

“As the impacts of climate change worsen, large energy users are stepping up to power their facilities sustainably,” said Matt Barnes, head of distributed energy solutions at Enel North America. “Enel is proud to partner with Eaton in building a future for manufacturing that reaches beyond facility walls to support energy resiliency for the broader community. The urgency to deploy microgrids — especially in regions with vulnerable electrical infrastructure — has never been greater, and Enel is delivering the clean and flexible systems that the energy transition requires.”

Solar power at Eaton manufacturing facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico The solar system is expected to generate nearly 10 GWh of renewable energy each year. (Photo: Enel North America)

“Communities and businesses everywhere need far more sustainable, resilient and affordable power,” said Mike Yelton, president, Americas Region, Electrical Sector at Eaton. “The projects at our Arecibo manufacturing facility provide a blueprint on how to put the energy transition to work — delivering important benefits for the community and our business. Together, with our longtime project partner Enel North America, we’re demonstrating the important role microgrids play in creating a robust energy infrastructure prepared to address the impact from climate change.”

Enel built, owns and operates the system on behalf of Eaton. Enel also financed the project under an energy-as-a-service model, shifting Eaton’s investment in the microgrid system from a capital to an operational expense. Eaton provided installation expertise and key technologies for the microgrid system, including its Power Xpert microgrid solutions and leading power distribution equipment.

Eaton and Enel are now initiating construction of a second microgrid at Eaton’s Las Piedras manufacturing facility.


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