St. Croix Cinema 400kWh Battery Storage

St Croix USVI Solar plus storage Cinema Project
Virgin Island Solarized Movie Theater with GS Storage
Virgin Island View
GS Battery Bank
Ideal Power St. Croix Cinema Installation
Ideal Power CivicSolar Project
Doing the Install in St. Croix
Backup Generator at Solar and GS storage
Project Description

In a region often crippled by large storms and hurricanes, a commercial property owner in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) with extensive experience with solar photovoltaic (PV) technology came to Electricity Wise Strategies (EWS) and CivicSolar with a two-fold goal: to operate a new 8-plex cinema project in St. Croix below the $0.45/kWh utility electric rate and to be able to generate the cinema's own power when the grid was disrupted. Diesel offered a viable option at $.30/kWh, but diesel is not a clean power source, noisy, and subject to pricing and availability fluctuations. To mitigate these cons of diesel while remaining focused on the goals, the final solution was a solar-diesel hybrid system with GS Battery storage.

 

Objective

The property owner wanted CivicSolar and Electricity Wise Strategies (EWS) to integrate PV with the gensets to minimize fuel use, which would drive down the cost and allow for scheduled use and refueling periods for the diesel gensets. The system would be able to operate independently for self-electricity generation and maintain adequate storage in preparation for natural disasters - achieving resiliency while adhering to a fixed budget. 

 

Proposal

CivicSolar analyzed the anticipated energy usage at the site and proposed integrating 200 kilowatts (kW) of PV, with an additional 400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy storage capacity to be able to run most hours with no diesel at all.

In order to meet the strict budget target, CivicSolar needed to find an ultra-high-efficiency lead acid battery as well as develop custom energy management software (EMS) to be able to transition from the PV system to the batteries or to diesel without any fluctuations to the power supply for sensitive streaming and protecting the equipment.

  • Batteries

    • 336VDC GS Battery - 5000 Cycles at 70% DOD

    • REAP BMS - Custom BMS, monitoring every cell of the battery bank

  • Energy Management System (EMS)

    • Custom (EMS) built by diesel-solar specialists and based on a local Dell industrial PC

    • Sequence of Operations (SEO) - Run on solar as much as possible, with diesel as the backup in case of load spikes or low PV production weather events

  • Inverter Description

    • 6 x EPC Stability 30

  • Generator Description

    • 3 x Caterpillar 135kW

  • Sequence of Operations Description

    • Quiet Time - Battery only during the nighttime

    • Fuel Save - Always run on PV when available

  • Results

    • Operating savings can reach $140,000 per year - resulting in an extremely short payback period for this system.

    • UPDATE: Hurricane Maria damaged a number of roofs on the cinema; nevertheless, the system continued to save the building owner money by running on the hybrid diesel/energy storage mode. The system is actively being repaired and transitioned back to a full solar + storage + diesel genset hybrid operation.