Rio Grande Renewables Completes Solar+Storage Microgrid in Costa Rica

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Rio Grande Renewables partnered with Demand Energy on the development of the microgrid for Establishment Labs S.A., a medical manufacturing plant in Costa Rica. The system is providing multiple on-site and grid-assisting services, including peak demand reduction, solar PV shaping to smooth out variability, and back-up power for critical loads in the event of an outage.

The microgrid is controlled by Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OS), which optimizes how these resources interact and perform. Under normal conditions the system will smoothly integrate intermittent solar PV for on-site self-consumption; when an outage occurs, the microgrid will island itself off and continue operating in standalone mode.

“Like most sensitive manufacturing and laboratory operations, the Establishment Labs facility must receive a continuous flow of quality power,” said Shane Johnson, Vice President of Operations for Demand Energy. “This DEN.OS-controlled intelligent microgrid offers a rapid payback thanks to significant savings from peak power reduction, and it will deliver instantaneous back-up power to support clean room operations when needed – preventing production losses during outages. The system eliminates the stranded costs of traditional diesel generators while offering a healthy return on investment through optimizing renewable solar generation, which drives a reduction in GHG emissions that support Costa Rica’s goal to be the first carbon-neutral country.”

Brian J. Schmidly, President of Rio Grande Renewables, said: “This new generation of microgrid technologies is a game-changer in the region. They are not only cleaner than traditional grid electricity and diesel generators, but they’re also more affordable now than in previous years. We expect to see demand for microgrids to grow as customer awareness increases and the benefits are clearly demonstrated. We applaud early adopters like Establishment Labs for taking a leadership position on environmentally responsible manufacturing and for being the first in the region to deploy this type of climate-friendly technology to help save money and compete internationally.”