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Article on UCSD Solar Powered Micorgrid System

Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:38 am

Here's an interesting article and video on the predominantly solar powered microgrid owned and operated by UCSD. In the video they show a LEAF charging on campus from the microgrid. But it's connected to a Blink, so we all really know it likely failed to charge. :lol:
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Re: Article on UCSD Solar Powered Micorgrid System

Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:37 am

Whoever chose the music for that video should be shot for poor taste! :roll:

Using the phrase "predominantly solar-powered" to describe the UCSD microgrid is an overstatement. I retired five years ago from an "accidental" 23-year career at UCSD in facilities management, and worked with several of the people in that video, most closely with John Dilliott and Gary Matthews, who was my boss for awhile. AFAIK, PV generates ~2 megawatts of the university's load at this time, with perhaps another 2 to come. There is a 2.8-megawatt fuel cell going in as well, but the majority of the campuses energy comes from a very clean and efficient 30-megawatt natural-gas-fired turbine co-gen system that provides 85% of the campus’s annual electricity needs.

What the video does not really mention is that this development has been taking place over two decades, through the foresight of two men who are not mentioned and have since retired, Jack Hug and Mort Shayegan. The university resembles a small city, with a population of some 70,000 people during an average school day, made up of students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors, spread out over 1000+ acres from the Scripps pier to east of I-5 in La Jolla. The cost of utilities to operate the campus is a huge part of the budget, and investments in co-generation plants, thermal storage, solar generation, alternative fuels, and smart controls integrated into building systems has been ongoing for many years and is now paying huge dividends, both to the university and the San Diego community. The cuts in the budget for public higher education that have taken place in the last few years are the most short-sighted disaster in social/political policy I can think of. The solutions we are going to need to work our way out of this economic depression are being incubated in the research taking place at institutions like this, and if anything, we should be "doubling-down" on our investments in them at a time like this.

In the video they show a LEAF charging on campus from the microgrid. But it's connected to a Blink, so we all really know it likely failed to charge. :lol:
I have used them and they worked fine, although I have received several spurious "unplugged" emails from at least one of them on days I was nowhere near the university. :shock:

One of the more interesting things they are working on is a way to economically accomplish direct DC fast charging from the solar array generation on the roofs of the parking structures without the waste involved in the interim DC-AC and then AC-DC conversion presently required in returning the power to the grid before using it to charge our battery packs.

Tom Tweed
La Jolla, CA
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2011 SLe #1317 del. 4/1/11
1st bar lost at 31,953 miles
2nd bar lost at 38,685 miles
3rd bar lost at 50,711 miles
4th bar lost at 59,758 miles after 64 months
Battery replaced at 61,307 miles.

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