PA DEP Microgrid Feasibility Studies

Project Info


PA Department of Environmental Protection, Energy Programs Office – Harrisburg, PA


2022 - 2023


Program development &  implementation; microgrid concept development; feasibility analysis

Project Overview

  • Design and deliver educational webinar series including follow-up surveys
    • microgrids & distributed energy technologies
    • energy resilience concepts and project drivers
    • BRIC and other funding opportunities
  • Assist PA DEP in reviewing and shortlisting five communities to receive no-cost studies
  • Perform microgrid feasibility studies
    • Site survey and requirements gathering
    • Conceptual development and 3D modeling
    • Microgrid modeling and simulation
    • Summary report with recommendations

Project Description

PA DEP’s Office of Energy Programs engaged ProtoGen to perform a scope of work that included two distinct tasks: 1) design and deliver an educational webinar series on the topic of energy resilience technologies, business cases, and regulatory considerations for critical facilities, and 2) perform microgrid feasibility analyses for up to ten (10) critical facilities across the Pennsylvania. Microgrid Feasibility Studies have been performed for the Boroughs of Tremont and Sharpsburg, the Montgomery Township Municipal Sewer Authority and Lehigh County Authority’s Water Filtration Plant; and the Perry County Courthouse/911 Call Center; another five will be performed for fiscal year 2023. 

A similar approach was taken for each of the Feasibility Studies. We began by performing a first-pass visual site survey using satellite imagery noting site layout, buildings, roof obstructions, infrastructure, open spaces, and other points of interest. We scheduled introductory calls with the respective project stakeholders to assess their goals and pain points and to better understand their operations including any expected operational changes or planned projects. We collected meter and usage data along with any supporting technical data and tariff information, and performed a site visit to verify site conditions and collect photogrammetric imagery via drone. XENDEE was used to develop techno-economic modeling around viable combinations of DER; these were iterated and analyzed to obtain the three most optimal candidate microgrid solutions. 3D modeling was created for site buildings and proposed assets using Sketchup while annual PV production was estimated using Skelion. The 3D models were used to perform shading analysis and verify siting capacities, and were adapted into preliminary drawing sets that clearly communicate visual impacts key takeaways and decision points. Finally, reporting was developed summarizing the modeling process, inputs, economic and resilience outcomes, sensitivities, and key findings. Detailed cashflows were prepared and included in an appendix, and a memo was issued with our professional recommendation for how to proceed.

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