Florida community teams up with Block Energy on $4.2 million solar microgrid


From pv magazine USA

A Florida new home subdivision signed a $4.2 million deal with Tampa-based Block Energy to install 77 solar arrays linked together in a community microgrid. The community in Lakeland, Florida, will be called Myrtlebrook.

Microgrids link solar, energy storage, and smart appliances. They offer benefits such as localized backup power, resilience, insulation from fluctuating utility rates, and more efficient energy use by connecting otherwise stranded assets.

Microgrid communities can operate separately from a utility’s electric grid, operating even when power outages occur. This is particularly appealing for Florida communities, which are no strangers to the impacts of hurricanes and power outages.

“This microgrid project is disruptive, it’s new and it’s everything emerging technology stands for,” Mike Dammer, manager of emergent technologies for Lakeland Electric. “We are going into the new.”

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Each home will have an 8 kW solar array integrated into a roof membrane, and every two homes will connect via a 43 kWh battery, forming a microgrid named the “BlockLoop” by Block Energy.

The planned community is designed to be 77% self-sufficient, but Block Energy said it is optimistic the system can outperform expectations. It has a similar 37-home microgrid community in Wimauma, Florida that has achieved 93% independence, only drawing 7% of its electric load from utility Tampa Electric company.

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