Enel X completes Solar-Energy Storage Microgrid at Alltown Fresh Convenience Store in Massachusetts

May 9, 2022
The microgrid will offer on-site generated power to Alltown Fresh Ayer by integrating solar panels on the canopy, a battery storage unit, and a portable generator connection, all designed, built, operated, and financed by Enel X

Enel X has completed a new solar and energy storage microgrid at a service station in Massachusetts.

The microgrid providing on-site power at the Global Partners LP’s Alltown Fresh service station will not only provide electricity for the business but also support electric vehicle charging at the facility in Ayer. The Alltown Fresh microgrid is the first to be completed through the InnovateMass Resilient Service Stations Challenge.

The microgrid will offer on-site generated power to Alltown Fresh Ayer by integrating solar panels on the canopy, a battery storage unit, and a portable generator connection, all designed, built, operated, and financed by Enel X. To support EV drivers, Enel X installed a universally compatible JuicePump 50kW, which can charge vehicles up to 80% battery capacity in 30 to 60 minutes.

“The increasing frequency and impact of extreme weather events underscore the need for far more sustainable and resilient power, especially for critical infrastructure,” says Surya Panditi, Head of Enel X North America. “However, solar energy paired with battery storage is not only valuable during emergencies. The Alltown Fresh microgrid is attractive to EV drivers who want to power their vehicles with renewable energy, and it's valuable to businesses to support the local grid by decreasing overall demand and reducing emissions while reducing costs."

It may be the first commercially deployed microgrid integrating station power and the DC fast charter co-located behind the same meter, according to the release.

Enel X is the advanced energy services wing of Italy’s utility giant Enel Group. Global Partners LP is a Northeast U.S. independent owner, supplier and operator of energy stations and convenience stores.

Enel X also partnered with National Grid under the EV Make Ready Program to upgrade the grid to support EV charging, power for the service station, and interconnection of the distributed energy resources co-located behind the same meter. This is expected to be the first commercial deployment of its kind, demonstrating the efficient use of utility incentives.

“National Grid is proud to support the first location to combine DCFC with solar panels and a battery storage system in Massachusetts”, says John Isberg, VP of Customer Sales and Solutions at National Grid. “Our partnership with Enel X will help National Grid prepare for increased demand from electric vehicle charging stations by using innovative system design to mitigate the impacts of DCFC charging on the grid and maximize the benefits of increased electric vehicle adoption. We are proud to support this initiative and look forward to the future learnings from the launch of this project.”

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Global Market Insights, Emergen Research and other economic forecasters are predicting that the microgrid sector will grow by double-digit percentage points annually to as much as $60 billion in market value. The rise in microgrids is driven by a need for both energy security and sustainability by large-scale customers in commercial and industrial sectors as well as mission critical facilities such as military bases, hospitals and data centers.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) launched the Resilient Service Stations Challenge to seek innovative solutions to offer measurable energy resilience to service stations while boosting clean energy adoption across the state, according to the group.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a national research and energy advocacy organization, has ranked Massachusetts as one of the top states for policies supporting local and on-site clean energy projects.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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