On Sept. 17, a $53-million, state-of-the-art, international smart grid project powered up in Los Alamos. The New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a photovoltaic array, a battery storage system, a smart house and an energy management system that will serve Los Alamos residents.


New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, together with NEDO Chairman Mr. Kazuo Furukawa, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover, LANL Director Dr. Charles McMillan and Toshiba CEO Mr. Norio Sasaki, along with other key executives from major participating companies were part of the event.


The project will show how to provide a high proportion of renewable energy on the electric grid to meet a community’s residential needs, while making the grid more efficient and stable. Data will be captured that describes the most successful configurations and approaches. This will contribute to establishing international standards for energy solutions and help minimize environmental impacts worldwide. The demonstration will be conducted through March 2014, after which there will be opportunities for other companies and institutions to conduct additional academic research and product testing.


The first system includes nearly 5,000 solar panels with 10 types of cells to evaluate efficiency levels. Affordable Solar of Albuquerque oversaw the array’s design and layout. It is one of the first systems nationwide ever constructed on a landfill. Other components of the project include batteries that provide 8.3 megawatt hours of energy storage with state-of-the-art controls, a smart house equipped with its own PV and battery system, a smart meter and smart appliances. Together they will smooth out the output of the PV, maintain voltage requirements under the feeder, and/or control the power costs faced by Los Alamos County by controlling peak usage. Electricity from the PV will provide power to a Los Alamos neighborhood of about 2,000 homes with smart meters.


The Los Alamos Smart Grid and the Mesa del Sol project in Albuquerque are two NEDO-sponsored projects within the NM Green Grid Initiative, which is fostering five smart grid projects. Other partners include Sandia National Laboratories, PNM and UNM. NEDO is Japan’s largest public research and development management organization. For more information, visit www.LosAlamosSmartGrid.info



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