The AERLab Research Microgrid
NSCC's Applied Energy Research built a research microgrid in their lab. The lab microgrid is a solar power plant with storage capabilities. It uses electricity generated by the college's roof-top solar panels to power appliances in a model kitchen. The kitchen can be disconnected from the grid and run from batteries. NSCC collects data on this system to provide key insights to industry.
The lab microgrid enables the AER team to collect and analyze a variety of realistic energy data based on people's daily activities. With this information, industry and communities can improve upon energy products and systems, enabling them to better allocate their time and resources. An essential research tool, the microgrid tackles some of the issues related to integrating renewable energy resources into the electrical grid.
As part of the EnergyDATA program's integrated design, the microgrid will also function as a smart grid. The AERLab is simultaneously developing software to complement the hardware, which will enable users to interact with the different systems to get the best results.
Thanks to funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), NSCC's Applied Energy Research (AER) and Solar Global Solutions (SGS) are collaborating on a deployable microgrid. Solar Global Solutions has deployed their first model microgrid at the NSCC Ivany Campus where faculty and students are gathering data and determining information such as: functionality, efficiency, energy generation capabilities, and fuel-cost comparisons. With a common goal, SGS and AER are working together to expedite the process of exporting deployable microgrids.
The deployable microgrid provides environmentally conscious solutions for off-grid applications within Canada and on a global scale. They are particularly useful to function in areas where grid power is expensive, unreliable or not available. This initiative supports the movement toward clean energy infrastructure and away from carbon-based fuel sources.