Island Laboratory Bolsters Independence with Microgrid
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The Shoals Marine Lab of Appledore Island, six miles off the New Hampshire and Maine Seacoast, has strengthened its off-grid capability with the addition of 100 solar panels and a 30 kW battery storage system. ReVision installed the privately donated batteries and solar panels this June, adding to the already robust island microgrid.
One of nine islands in the Isles of Shoals archipelago, Appledore’s electricity was provided exclusively by a diesel-powered generator until the mid-2000s, as there is no connection to the mainland grid. Solar was the perfect alternative to transporting 10,000 gallons of fuel every year, and by expanding their renewable energy assets, Shoals Marine Lab have nearly eliminated that need altogether. These days, one doesn’t hear the drone of a generator on the island very often.
Mainland communities can benefit from microgrid development in just the same way, by harnessing local, abundant electricity resources and not wasting large amounts of power by transporting it long distances. Combining large-scale renewable energy with battery storage, heat pumps, LEDs and electric vehicle charging, into microgrid projects creates community-scale, self-contained energy islands that provide great energy resiliency and independence at lower cost than traditional energy sources.
Shoals Marine Lab installed their first battery storage system in 2013 inside their new Energy Conservation Building. Fed by both wind and solar power, the Energy Conservation Building battery bank distributes electricity to facilities around Appledore. The recently installed solar panels atop the Kingsbury House will feed into lithium-ion batteries, and the combined system will be responsible for running a pumping station that regularly circulates fresh saltwater from the ocean to the lab.
Fostering Sea Protectors
The largest facility of its kind in the world, Shoals Marine Lab is operated jointly by UNH and Cornell University, and they cater to undergraduate students interested in focusing on marine topics like intertidal ecology and migratory bird landing. Sustainability initiatives at their facilities also extend to utilizing rainwater collection, food composting, composting toilets, single-stream recycling, energy efficient appliances and LED lights.
Beyond providing diverse marine studies, Shoals Marine Lab prepares students for careers in the fields of marine and environmental science and sustainability. All programs are infused with in their ethos of responsible natural resource use and management, scientific and community collaboration, and public service. Their growing microgrid continues their hallmark of sustainability in action and innovative research to advance the understanding and protection of marine ecosystems.