Establishment Labs in Costa Rica with a microgrid solution to face Central American unstable power grid

Micro-grid: synonymous with safety, energy autonomy and resiliency

Establishment Labs, a Costa Rican producer of the latest generation medical devices, has eradicated the risk of power blackouts and eliminated the high costs of electricity and diesel by choosing a rooftop photovoltaic solution integrated with a storage system by Demand Energy.

Autonomous grids are a growing trend among the companies of Central America, where there is no lack of that form of energy that rises in the east each morning. This is why in 2016 Establishment Labs, a medical device plant in Costa Rica with over 30 years of experience in advanced breast implant production, commissioned a micro-grid from Demand Energy, the Enel Group Company. The project is quite literally illuminated by a revolutionary system of lithium ion batteries of 500 kW/1 MWh.

This smart system makes it possible to accumulate and directly store, on-site, all the energy produced by a 276 KW photovoltaic system created by Rio Grande Renewables, a partner in the project and pioneer in the development of a micro-grid.

The operating system of grids developed by Demand Energy guarantees the production plant complete autonomy. In fact, the medical laboratory consumes all of the solar energy produced by its photovoltaic panels, thereby avoiding the costs of exporting any excess power onto the grid.

A safe, inexpensive and sustainable solution

Prior to the installation of the innovative solution developed by Demand Energy, the plant had relied on a network that was unreliable and wasteful, both in economic and environmental terms, powered by two 750 kVA diesel generators. 

Demand Energy’s photovoltaic grid enabled the plant to automatically enter “isolation” mode during the blackout that affected seven Central American countries on 1 July 2017, the day when 1.4 million users in Costa Rica were without electricity for five hours. The Demand Energy system safeguarded the power supply to Establishment Labs’ ‘cleanroom’, enabling the process of product sterilization to continue undisturbed, and then returned the grid back to automatic mode. The solution, therefore, not only provided energy security and prevented production inefficiencies, but also created significant savings with a 5% reduction in the energy bill and a tangible reduction in gas consumption.

A convenient, clean and conscious energy radiates from the combination of technology and environmental sustainability. Yet again, our smart solutions arise from the combination of innovation and natural resources.

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