December 19, 2013

UConn microgrid to open in fall

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Alan Rubacha, senior project manager at Wesleyan in Middletown, shows how the university's own generating systems, like UConn's microgrid, will provide power to the university 24/7, even during widespread electrical outages.

Microgrid at UConn's Depot campus in Mansfield is on schedule to be operational in fall after receiving $2.1 million in funding.

Designed for emergency outages, the proposed microgrid is powered by a 400 kilowatt fuel cell and a 6.6 kilowatt solar array to provide uninterrupted electricity.

This will allow for public amenities and emergency services including outlets for charging electronics, public kitchens, bathrooms, and even charging stations for electric cars. The microgrid will constitute as a meeting place for first responders such as fire, police and storm recovery teams.

Following the storms in 2011 that lead to prolonged power outages across Connecticut, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection allotted $18 million in grants to nine different agencies to develop microgrids. In addition to UConn, the other locations include Hartford, Middletown, Groton, Woodbridge, Windham, Bridgeport, and Fairfield.

UConn's Depot campus is separate from the Storrs location and is used for office space and laboratory research. In the event of a prolonged power outage, research facilities will remain operational.

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