New York's first self-sufficient apartment building, thanks to Enel X's smart microgrid

The combined photovoltaic, storage and fuel cell system developed by Demand Energy is the first microgrid in New York City to ensure both peak load reduction and an autonomous backup power supply through self-generated power

Published on 9 March 2018

New York's first self-sufficient apartment building, thanks to Enel X's smart microgrid

New York City is one of the most energy-intensive urban areas in the world, with a growing demand for energy that results in grid overloads. Demand Energy, an Enel Group company, is engaged in the Brooklyn-Queens area with an energy efficiency and load reduction programme. At the Marcus Garvey Village, a housing complex of 625 apartments in the Brownsville area, Demand Energy has developed a first-generation microgrid to make the complex fully self-sufficient. The microgrid combines a 400-kW photovoltaic solar power system, 300-kW/1.2-MWh energy storage and a 400-kW fuel cell, connected to the Demand Energy DEN.OS™ (Distributed Energy Network Optimization System) smart software that manages distributed generation energy resources.

Lower energy costs and greater resilience

A key aspect of the DEN.OS system is the ability to ensure that the complex consumes all the energy produced. This pioneering project is the first residential storage experiment in New York City using lithium-ion batteries. It is a shining example of how a large city can develop an electricity grid that ensures the smart management of distributed generation resources, improving efficiency and the resilience of the entire system.

The system developed thanks to the Demand Energy Network software contributes to reducing energy costs for Marcus Garvey Village residents, streamlining electrical load management for the local distributor and enables a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The DEN.OS is so smart that it can predict peaks in electricity demand and satisfy the load through the optimal integration of different generation sources by taking into account the price of energy on the electricity market, the forecast renewable energy production and the battery charge level.

Innovative financing with no upfront payment

The project at the Marcus Garvey Village will pay for itself thanks to a combination of incentives from the distributor Con Edison and the revenues generated through participation in Demand Response and Peak Shaving programmes. The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation, a non-profit specialty finance company that finances solutions for energy efficiency and clean energy projects, has rewarded the initiative with a 10-year loan. The owners of the village, L+M Development Partners, and Demand Energy have, therefore, agreed on an operational model that involves splitting the savings generated by the project in order to cover the installation costs and remunerate the initiative. L+M did not have to make any initial investment to build the system.

DEN.OS intelligent software

Demand Energy’s DEN.OS energy network optimization system maximises the economic profits of storage systems both individually and in combination with distributed generation. The DEN.OS platform has been designed to facilitate the design, integration and operation of energy services, providing users with a financial return, plus a wide range of energy storage applications. The platform is a complete solution capable of covering any market segment, including microgrids, traditional generation and distribution networks.

Demand Energy offers a complete solution for energy efficiency and resilience; the model can be replicated for residential and industrial applications.


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