A contact lens manufacturer in California is expected to cut costs considerably while boosting the uptime and resilience of its operations by installing a rooftop solar microgrid.
Staar Surgical inaugurated a 1.1 MW grid-tied microgrid on its production facility in Lake Forest, California. The array is expected to lead to $325,000 in annual electricity bill savings while including the added benefit of energy resilience under conditions where the central utility grid is impacted.
Solar contractor ReVamp Energy designed, installed and will maintain the microgrid, which includes battery energy storage.
The microgrid is powered by a 780 kW rooftop array coupled with SolarEdge DC-optimized inverters. The remaining capacity is installed on two newly-constructed carports. The 1,752 module system is expected to cut the contact lens manufacturer’s electricity costs by about 50%.
Moreover, the company is expected to prevent costs incurred by spoiled production runs, which can occur when the power goes out during the manufacturing process.
“Manufacturing contact lenses is a highly energy-intensive process that requires each lens to be heated in an industrial kiln continuously for several days. Any reduction in power of more than a few seconds has the potential to ruin an entire production run, leading to losses of potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars,” said Jay Cutting, president, ReVamp Energy.
Excess solar production will be stored by a 450 kW battery that is expected to range between eight and 24 hours of backup power, depending on the facility’s load requirements. The system also included a generator to ensure Starr Surgical can maintain production.
ReVamp Energy designed custom-made switchgear that will automatically switch the site’s energy supply to back-up power in the event of a power outage. The microgrid is manageable via the SolarEdge monitoring platform which will enable Staar Surgical and ReVamp Energy to track a variety of key parameters like solar energy production, consumption and battery energy levels in real-time and from a single platform.
“We have worked with Staar Surgical on several solar installations and for each one we have used SolarEdge technology – it is a key component of realizing the client’s requirement for high energy production, reliability, and intelligent control,” said Cutting. “This starts with the use of power optimizers to pull more power from the solar arrays, and extends through to the generation of highly-granular performance data that will enable us to operate and maintain not just the solar installation, but the entire microgrid, in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.”
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