Florida International University (FIU) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) announced the development of an innovative energy microgrid on campus, marking the latest project to emerge from the decades-long partnership.
In the event of an outage due to severe weather, the FIU-FPL microgrid is capable of supplying backup power to FIU’s engineering center — touted as one of the most high-tech learning facilities in South Florida. According to FPL, the cutting-edge technology will be able to keep the center fully operational for approximately 24 hours.
“At FPL, we are always eager to look over the horizon and disrupt the status quo to continue to deliver America’s best energy value – electricity that’s not just clean and reliable, but also affordable,” Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said. “This cutting-edge microgrid isn’t just an opportunity for FPL to help shape the next generation of America’s workforce, it’s an opportunity for FIU students and faculty to contribute directly to a brighter energy future for the Sunshine State – a future that includes more solar, more energy storage and hopefully more microgrid technology on a greater scale.”
Microgrid technology is uniquely capable of addressing customer needs for resiliency in the wake of extreme weather events such as wildfires and hurricanes. Microgrids can operate in both grid-connected and “island” mode – meaning when severe weather affects the main energy grid a microgrid can operate autonomously using its own local energy sources to power the buildings or facilities that the microgrid supports.
“When FIU and FPL unveiled our innovative solar canopy in 2016, solar was still a technology of the future. Today, solar is the ‘here and now’ for FPL. With this microgrid, FIU students have the opportunity to contribute to the future of energy yet again – gaining hands-on experience with an emerging technology and conducting research that will bring real-world benefits to Floridians,” FIU President Mark Rosenberg said. “Our decade-long partnership with FPL demonstrates exactly how experimental projects like this microgrid can turn into world-changing developments practically overnight.”
Once online, the FIU-FPL microgrid will be powered by the existing FIU-FPL 1.4 megawatt (MW) solar array at the FPL-FIU Solar Research Center. The solar array doubles as a parking canopy and incorporates a large-scale 3 MW battery system. It is located on the Northeast corner of FIU’s Engineering Center.