Schneider deal for autonomous vertical farm microgrid

February 03, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Schneider Electric has teamed up with Scale Microgrid Solutions for a microgrid for US indoor vertical farm being built by Fifth Season
Schneider Electric has teamed up with Scale Microgrid Solutions for a microgrid for US indoor vertical farm being built by Fifth Season

French power giant Schneider Electric has teamed up with Scale Microgrid Solutions which will design, build, own and operate a microgrid for a US indoor vertical farm

An indoor vertical farm offers vast improvements over traditional agriculture by using zero pesticides, 95 percent less water and increased footprint productivity through LED lighting but use a lot of power. The deal with Fifth Season, an indoor vertical farm technology supplier in Pittsburgh, uses standardized microgrid modules from Scale Microgrid Solutions to combines distributed energy resources, including a rooftop solar array, a battery energy storage system and a natural gas generator equipped with advanced emissions control technologies.

The microgrid will use Schneider Electric's battery storage, switchgear and controls technology to deliver sustainable and dynamic energy management for the autonomous vertical farm, which aims to efficiently produce 200 tonnes of local produce in its first full year of operation.

"Our vertical farm in Pittsburgh is reconnecting consumers to locally grown fresh food. This is a first step in solving some of the largest problems facing society caused by the broken food system, however, this industry must achieve long term economic and environmental sustainability," said Grant Vandenbussche, Chief Category Officer at Fifth Season. "This microgrid enables our journey to create a sustainable system that delivers healthier, fresher greens to local communities through both economic and environmental efficiencies."

The microgrid is being financed by Scale Microgrid Solutions' microgrid-as-a-service business model, helping Fifth Season save capital that can be used toward additional operational investments, while also immediately benefiting from more efficient, sustainable and economic energy consumption. Commissioning of the full energy system is scheduled for the middle of 2020 and it will be the first site of several that are to be constructed for Fifth Season in the next three years.

"Fifth Season is cognizant that vertical farming facilities can be energy intensive and by pairing solar generation with batteries to work with the grid, they will enable demand response, peak shaving and time of use pricing," said Drew Gravitt, a


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