ARKANSAS, January 8 (Future Headlines)- In a strategic move towards sustainability and energy resilience, Staar Surgical, a leading contact lens manufacturer, has embraced innovation by installing a rooftop solar microgrid at its production facility in Lake Forest, California. Designed, installed, and maintained by ReVamp Energy, the 1.1 MW grid-tied microgrid combines a 780-kW rooftop solar array with SolarEdge DC-optimized inverters. This groundbreaking initiative not only underscores Staar Surgical’s commitment to reducing energy costs but also aims to prevent operational downtime during grid outages. The microgrid, featuring cutting-edge technology and energy storage solutions, is poised to make a significant impact on Staar Surgical’s electricity expenses and enhance production reliability.

The microgrid integrates a 780-kW rooftop solar array, comprising 1,752 modules, strategically positioned on Staar Surgical’s production facility roof. Additionally, solar panels are installed on two adjacent carports, maximizing energy capture. This distributed approach enhances the overall efficiency of the solar microgrid, utilizing available space effectively. SolarEdge DC-optimized inverters play a pivotal role in the microgrid’s performance. These inverters optimize the direct current (DC) generated by the solar panels into usable alternating current (AC), ensuring maximum energy harvest. The advanced technology enhances the overall efficiency and reliability of the solar power system.

To address the intermittency of solar power generation and ensure uninterrupted operations, the microgrid incorporates a 450-kW battery system. This energy storage solution allows Staar Surgical to store excess solar production, providing up to 24 hours of backup power depending on the facility’s load requirements. The battery serves as a critical component in preventing production losses during grid outages. Recognizing the importance of maintaining production schedules, Staar Surgical has included a generator in its microgrid infrastructure. This redundancy measure ensures that the facility can seamlessly switch to an alternative power source if needed, guaranteeing continuous manufacturing processes even in the face of extended grid outages.

ReVamp Energy has designed custom-made switchgear to automate the switchover of the facility’s energy supply in the event of a power outage. This intelligent system ensures a seamless transition to backup power, minimizing downtime and potential losses. The automatic switchgear represents a critical component in the microgrid’s ability to respond swiftly to grid disturbances. Staar Surgical’s decision to invest in a solar microgrid is expected to yield substantial financial benefits. The microgrid is projected to reduce the company’s electricity costs by an impressive 50%, translating to an annual savings of nearly $325,000. This significant cost reduction is a testament to the economic viability of renewable energy solutions, further emphasizing the business case for transitioning to sustainable practices.

The unique challenges posed by the energy-intensive process of manufacturing contact lenses underscore the importance of operational resilience. The microgrid serves as a proactive solution to address the potential disruptions caused by power outages. In the manufacturing process, where precision and continuity are paramount, any interruption lasting more than a few seconds can lead to substantial financial losses. Staar Surgical’s solar microgrid not only ensures uninterrupted power supply during regular operations but also acts as a safeguard against losses incurred due to spoiled production runs caused by unexpected power outages.

Beyond the immediate financial and operational benefits, Staar Surgical’s commitment to solar power aligns with broader environmental sustainability goals. By harnessing clean and renewable energy sources, the company contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions and mitigates its environmental footprint. The solar microgrid represents a step towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible manufacturing process.

The monitoring platform provided by SolarEdge plays a crucial role in the effective management of the solar microgrid. Staar Surgical and ReVamp Energy can analyze key parameters, including solar energy production, consumption, and battery energy levels, in real-time. This comprehensive monitoring capability enhances the microgrid’s efficiency by allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions and optimize energy usage based on real-time data.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White