California-based contact lens manufacturer, Staar Surgical, is set to reduce operational costs and increase the reliability of its operations with the installation of a rooftop solar microgrid. The 1.1 MW grid-tied microgrid, located at the company’s production facility in Lake Forest, is expected to save Staar Surgical $325,000 in annual electricity bills while providing energy resilience during grid disruptions.
The microgrid, designed, installed, and maintained by solar contractor ReVamp Energy, includes battery energy storage. It is powered by a 780 kW rooftop array with SolarEdge DC-optimized inverters, with additional capacity installed on two newly-constructed carports. With a total of 1,752 modules, the system is projected to cut the contact lens manufacturer’s electricity costs by approximately 50%.
One of the key benefits of the microgrid is its ability to prevent losses incurred by spoiled production runs. The manufacturing process for contact lenses requires continuous heating in an industrial kiln for several days. Any power interruption lasting more than a few seconds can ruin an entire production run, resulting in significant financial losses. By ensuring a reliable power supply, the microgrid will help Staar Surgical avoid such costly disruptions.
To store excess solar production, the microgrid incorporates a 450 kW battery that can provide backup power for up to 24 hours, depending on the facility’s load requirements. Additionally, a generator is included to ensure uninterrupted production.
ReVamp Energy has designed custom-made switchgear that automatically switches the site’s energy supply to backup power in the event of a power outage. The microgrid is managed through the SolarEdge monitoring platform, allowing Staar Surgical and ReVamp Energy to track important parameters such as solar energy production, consumption, and battery energy levels in real-time and from a single platform.
Jay Cutting, president of ReVamp Energy, expressed confidence in the project, stating that SolarEdge technology has been instrumental in meeting Staar Surgical’s energy production, reliability, and control requirements. By utilizing power optimizers and generating detailed performance data, the microgrid will operate efficiently and cost-effectively.
With the installation of this solar microgrid, Staar Surgical is not only expected to achieve significant cost savings but also enhance the resilience and sustainability of its operations.