The innovative Butler Farms microgrid developed by South River EMC, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and Butler Farms, a sustainability focused hog farm in Harnett County, recently received the Top Project of the Year Award in the Environment + Energy Leader Awards program. The win indicates that the project is a top example of exemplary work in the fields of energy and environmental management.
The Butler Farms microgrid enhances the reliability of the electric system and farm operations by avoiding prolonged outages after interruptions to grid power. During normal conditions, the microgrid is connected to South River EMC’s distribution system and supplies energy from the integrated local renewable resources to supplement and diversify traditional power resources. During outages, it can also operate in island mode to power Butler Farms and nearby homes.
This project also serves as a case study for how agriculture and electric utilities — two of North Carolina’s most important industries — can work together to promote sustainability and improve quality of life. The microgrid includes a 185kW biogas generator, 100kW backup diesel generator, 20kW solar panel system, 250kW/735kWh battery energy storage system, and a microgrid controller that integrates and manages all system components. PowerSecure Inc. served as the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction contractor and nominated it for the award.
One judge said of Butler Farms Microgrid: “Fantastic example of how to grow an initiative to benefit the larger community. The well-deserved recognition your project is receiving should increase the chances it will be used as the model for other industry farms. I applaud your efforts to integrate this project into STEM learning and for reaching out to the University for research on battery life. This is leadership.”
Another added: “The microgrid integrates local renewable energy resources, including solar and biogas, with energy storage to supplement traditional power sources, diversify the electric grid and provide environmental benefits. Models like this could help the small farmer diversify and supplement geographies/townships with alternatives for environmental improvement. Well established partnerships and tested results.”
The Environment + Energy Leader Awards is a program recognizing excellence in products and services that provide companies with energy and environmental benefits, and in projects implemented by companies that improved environmental or energy management and increased the bottom line. Learn more about all the microgrid projects developed by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives and other ways we are innovating a brighter future on our website.