The Northside Aztlan Community Center is a fitness and events facility located under a mile from Ageto’s headquarters in Colorado. The City of Fort Collins received a grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to install a microgrid to benefit the community. The goals of the microgrid were three-fold: to increase community resilience, to respond to demand response events issued by the municipal utility, and to serve as a template for future successful microgrid installations in the area.
The resilience goal was to power the facility for two weeks from solar and storage during a utility outage in the fire season. This would allow the Red Cross or a similar organization to set up emergency services, distribute resources, or evacuate the town.
Under normal operation, the battery is dispatched for peak shaving and demand response. Fort Collins municipal utility can send signals to the ARC controller over an OpenADR protocol when the grid is strained. The energy storage acts as a dispatchable reserve when the city-wide power demand is peaking. While the battery itself is too small to effectively move the needle when it comes to grid-wide capacity shortage, it does provide the city with valuable experience to replicate the scenario at other commercial locations.
During an outage, the Ageto Protective Relay Cabinet (PRC) will island the facility. Then the ARC controller will coordinate the solar and storage to seamlessly back up a critical load panel. That critical load panel will back up lighting and outlets in the facility gym. This will allow community members and emergency organizations to congregate, charge devices, and create a space for needed services.
The project brings many benefits for community resilience and exemplifies the ambitious sustainability goals of the community and the state. Ageto and Sandbox Solar, are proud to bring increased resilience so close to home. Go FoCO!