Smart energy: Cayman Islands to install microgrid for commercial complex

Cayman Technology Centre to install microgrid
The Cayman Technology Centre is installing a microgrid in a bid to keep commercial tenants’ electricity bills down

US energy management solutions company ZBB Energy has secured a deal with a residential property developer in the Cayman Islands to create a large-scale off-grid installation.

The contract involves fitting out the Cayman Technology Centre, a 3,530 square meter, (38,000 square foot) office and retail complex in George Town, Grand Cayman, owned by NCB Group, to ensure it can operate independently of the utility grid.

The system’s integration is composed of ten 50kWh ZBB’s EnerStore V3.3 ZnBr flow batteries, a ZBB EnerSection energy management system, a 380kW PV installation and an 800kW diesel generator.

Climbing electricity rates and increasing demand pressure on the grid in the Caribbean is driving the market for microgrid systems, commented Brad Hansen, president and chief operating officer at ZBB.

“ZBB is focused on developing and commercializing technology that enables owners of commercial and industrial properties to maximize their energy independence and turn their buildings from an energy user to a clean energy producing asset.

Mr Hansen added: “Energy management systems for the C&I market must be capable of performing a number of applications and be highly configurable to deliver value to the operator.”

Flow battery system

In other energy storage news, US microgrid company ViZn Energy Systems has installed an advanced flow battery system at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia to test utility integration with renewable generation.

Randolph-Macon College is in partnership on a solar energy project with Dominion Resources, an East Coast utility provider and one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy.

The Z20 redox flow battery uses a zinc and iron chemistry. It has been designed with a water-based, two-phase flow system that consists of a zinc electrode and an iron redox counter electrode.

The Z20 claims to have one of the fastest charge and discharge responses on the market and can withstand significant temperature fluctuations and facilitate multiple discharge cycles each day.

“One of the technical challenges associated with distributed solar power is the issue of intermittency,” said Mary Doswell, senior vice president of Alternative Energy Solutions at Dominion.

“We hope that by combining a solar and battery solution that Dominion and its partners can more fully understand the potential benefits to the grid and to our customers.”