Miller Community Center - Solar Microgrid

Miller Community Center

Project Description

Seattle City Light partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation to implement a microgrid installation project at Miller Community Center, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The project components include a battery energy storage system, solar panels and microgrid controls.

microgrid system components

The microgrid will provide backup power storage for the community center during emergency events, such as a windstorm or unplanned power outage. When the electric grid is down, the microgrid will generate and provide power to the community center to keep the center's services and communications operational.

A $1.5 million grant from the state of Washington provided a portion of the funds for the project. The City of Seattle is partnering with the University of Washington to perform analytics on the microgrid's community and utility benefits. Seattle Parks and Recreation provided the community center site for this project.

Location

The microgrid is located at Miller Community Center (330 19th Avenue East), located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

What's Happening Now?

Project Update (April 2022): Construction occurred from January to June 2021. See images of the finished enclosure components below, including the solar panel system. City Light completed the programming, commissioning, and testing of these components in 2021. The utility will continue to perform system integration testing and analytics on the microgrid to objectively measure the effectiveness of the project's use cases and optimize the performance. City Light is working with the University of Washington to develop a report based on the analytics.

City Light celebrated the completion of this project with Gov. Jay Inslee, Mayor Bruce Harrell, and other city leaders in late April 2022. Read more: City of Seattle Celebrates Earth Day with Completion of Miller Community Center Microgrid Project (Blog).

Microgrid enclosure at Miller Community Center
View of the microgrid enclosure (looking southeast)

Battery energy storage system inside microgrid enclosure
Battery storage systems installed inside the enclosure

Solar panels installed at the Miller Community Center roof.
Solar panels installed on the community center's roof

Community Benefits

The project will empower a community to recover quickly from unplanned emergency events and gain technical knowledge on the installation and operation of a microgrid system. Analytics from the microgrid resiliency project will allow the City of Seattle to research and develop similar technologies. The project also includes several energy conservation measures that will help reduce the community center's electricity costs.

Project Details

How does the project operate?
During normal operations, the solar panels will power the community center and charge the batteries. When the solar panels are not generating, the batteries can back up the delivery of electricity from City Light's distribution grid. The microgrid, solar panels and batteries will provide backup power storage for the community center during unplanned outages such as a windstorm.

How was the project funded?
In August 2016, Governor Jay Inslee announced $12.6 million in Clean Energy Fund grants to five utilities in the state of Washington. The Washington State Department of Commerce selected Seattle City Light's microgrid resiliency project for a $1.5 million grant. This grant provided a portion of the funds for the project. City Light funded an additional $1.8 million in project costs. Click here for more information regarding the Washington State Department of Commerce's Clean Energy Fund.

Who did the City of Seattle select to work on the project?
The City of Seattle is working with several groups to learn how the microgrid will impact or benefit Seattle City Light's electrical system and customers. The project will allow the utility to gain valuable insights and lessons on what it takes to design, build and operate a microgrid. The findings from this project will also determine how Seattle Parks and Recreation and other city partners can incorporate innovative technologies like microgrids in their operations.

  • City Partners: Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks & Recreation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
  • Owner's Engineer: DNV GL was hired for their microgrid expertise. They evaluated sites for the microgrid and oversaw the project through design, construction, commissioning and testing.
  • Analytics Team: The University of Washington will gather data and perform quantitative and qualitative analysis of the microgrid, community and system benefits.
  • Building Engineered Systems Contractor: Worley Parsons Group, Inc. designed, built, tested and commissioned the microgrid.

What artwork did the city install for this project?
A new interior art piece, Connected Community, was installed at Miller Community Center through a partnership with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and City Light’s 1% for Art Fund. Artist, Julia Harrison, commissioned the piece with input from the Miller Park community. The artwork combines and celebrates solar energy and community.

interior art display inside Miller Community Center
Connected Community, courtesy of artist, Julia Harrison (Credit: Seattle Office of Arts & Culture)

Construction occurred from January to June 2021. City Light completed the programming, commissioning, and testing of the microgrid components in 2021. The utility will continue to perform system integration testing and analytics on the microgrid to objectively measure the effectiveness of the project's use cases and optimize the performance. City Light is working with the University of Washington to develop a report after analyzing the microgrid's runtime data.

Armando Berdiel Chavez
Seattle City Light
armando.berdiel@seattle.gov
(206) 475-2722

Jacob Daley
Seattle Parks and Recreation
jacob.daley@seattle.gov
(206) 487-6516