Seattle City Light will use a grant to help develop a microgrid, which will include a utility-scale battery system, solar panels and emergency generators located at a designated emergency shelter, such as a community center. During normal operations, the solar panels will charge the batteries and provide some of the power to operate the building. When the solar panels are not generating, the batteries can back up the delivery of electricity from Seattle City Light’s distribution grid or, during periods of high demand, could be used to reduce the amount of energy the utility has to purchase to meet customer needs, holding down costs for all its customer-owners. After a storm, earthquake or other emergency, the solar panels, emergency generators and battery system can power a portion of the building even if damage to the distribution grid causes outages in the surrounding area.

“Microgrids show promise for providing backup power during outages, increasing our community’s resiliency after a disaster and making it easier to integrate renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind,” comments Larry Weis, Seattle City Light’s general manager and CEO.

The specific location for the micorgrid has yet to be determined, but Seattle City Light will create a microgrid at a designated emergency shelter, powered by solar energy. During an emergency, this stand-alone power grid will keep fire stations, community centers and communication networks operating.