Tampa Electric Co. has purchased and installed Emera Technologies’ BlockEnergy microgrid platform at its Southshore Bay residential development, south of Tampa, Florida.
The community comprises 37 new homes with fully-integrated, shared rooftop solar PV systems. It has been developed in partnership with Lennar Homes and Metro Development Group.
Each home is equipped with a BlockBox, a battery storage and power electronic control system, connected to the neighborhood distribution network. The BlockBox communicates via the neighborhood distribution network and shares energy as and when needed within the community.
A central energy park connects to the electric utility power grid. This park has supplemental batteries and optional additional generation for reliability during outages.
Homeowners still pay for the electricity but do not have to pay extra grid charges and fees. Up to 80% of the energy used in their homes comes from the sun without the need to hire a solar contractor for the PV installation or operate and maintain the system.
"We are continually striving to find new ways of bringing smarter, cleaner, and more reliable energy to our customers," said Dave Pickles, vice president of electric delivery of Tampa Electric. "The BlockEnergy™ microgrid pilot project is a promising solution that brings a new layer of control, operability, and flexibility. It's one that can directly benefit our customers and help us to realize our net-zero vision."
The Florida Public Service Commission granted permission for the use of BlockEnergy at Southshore Bay as a four-year pilot. The permission has been granted after two years of pilot testing and optimizing of the platform at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
"We developed our BlockEnergy™ utility-owned business model with the charter to find a win-win solution for utilities, homeowners and regulators to offer clean, reliable energy to homeowners," said Rob Bennett, chief executive officer of Emera Technologies. "We are excited TECO is leading the way by adopting BlockEnergy™ for Southshore Bay and providing a model residential community that other utilities can learn from, follow suit, and continue to make the necessary changes we need for a cleaner, more grid-resilient future."
Additionally, Emera Technologies has also received UL 9450 fire and safety certification for the energy storage control system integrated with the BlockEnergy platform.
"We are looking at sustaining infrastructure and ensuring mission readiness in a way that is safe, secure, reliable, and cost-effective," said Colonel David Miller, the former commander of Kirtland Air Force Base. "The Emera project is right in line with what we are trying to do. This also positions us as a leader in helping the state of New Mexico meet 2045 renewable portfolio standards, while testing an innovative and practical approach to energy surety and resiliency."