Greentech Leader: Princeton Power System’s Alcatraz Island Micro-grid PV Plus storage

Princeton Power System has won Intersolar North America 2014 award for its Alcatraz Island Micro-grid PV Plus storage installation.

Princeton Power Systems, New Jersey, designs and manufactures technology solutions for energy management, micro-grid operations and electric vehicle charging.

The Alcatraz microgrid was created as a response to failures of conventional energy sources. It has helped Alcatraz achieve energy independence. The microgrid caters to 80 percent of the island’s electricity needs.

Princeton Power Systems cooperated with the U.S. National Park Service to install a 400kW system that integrates technologies without compromising the historic quality of the site, by making the system invisible to the outside viewer.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the NPS unit that manages Alcatraz, used $3.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to install the solar-powered micro-grid.

Engineers from NREL’s Federal Energy Management Program assisted the Park Service in the design and installation, atop the prison cell building.

Surplus electricity generated by the solar panels is sent to 2 MWh valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery pack, installed next to the island’s power plant.

A smart inverter system installed by Princeton Power Systems converts the direct current (DC) generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC).

The PV was capable of managing the island’s electricity demand within a year, with the micro-grid reducing the running time of the diesel generators from 100 percent to 40 percent, according to company officials.

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