Peña Station NEXT is a 382-acre transit-oriented development in Denver. Stakeholders Panasonic, Xcel Energy, Denver International Airport, Younicos, and LC Fulenwider, Inc. partnered on a unique solar and storage microgrid for the station.
The project was a public-private partnership that required the close cooperation of multiple major stakeholders. It secured unanimous approval from Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission under Xcel Energy’s Innovative Clean Technology program.
Stakeholders executed multilateral agreements regarding the design, ownership, and operation of the microgrid’s assets. Those agreements included a 1.6 MWdc carport solar PV installation over the airport parking lot, a 259 kWdc rooftop solar PV array on Panasonic’s corporate office, a 1 megawatt / 2 megawatt-hours lithium ion battery system, Panasonic’s high-tech, energy-efficient Denver operations hub building, and switching/control systems to operate the battery system and microgrid functionality.
In cooperation with project partners, Panasonic led technology installation and energization.
Energy storage today is usually deployed for limited use cases such as backup power or demand charge reduction. In this project, five stacked use cases enhance the services delivered and the economic proposition for storage, according to Panasonic. The net result is a replicable and scalable model. The microgrid’s system aids grid integration of renewable energy, improves power quality and reliability for C&I customers like Panasonic, and improves the operations of Xcel’s distribution grid. Ultimately, data gathered from this project will enable the evaluation of business and technology models that could support scaled deployment of similar renewably-powered “portfolio” microgrids in Colorado and beyond.
Most microgrids are behind the meter of a single entity such as a military installation or a university or corporate campus. At Peña, the stakeholders share microgrid assets. For the carport solar system, Denver International Airport owns the parking lot and the carport structure. Xcel Energy owns and operates the solar PV atop that carport structure under a long-term lease agreement. Similarly, the battery system is owned and operated by Xcel Energy, but is hosted at Panasonic’s facility with Panasonic performing O&M. The result is Panasonic’s and Xcel Energy’s first microgrid in Colorado.