Aemetis signs agreements for solar, battery storage projects

By Aemetis Inc. | February 07, 2022

Aemetis Inc., a leading producer of renewable natural gas and renewable fuels, announced today it has selected and signed definitive agreements with SunPower and Schneider Electric for their grid-connected, solar microgrid comprising an almost 2.0 MW photovoltaic array and a 1.25 MW battery energy storage system that will be integrated with an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven distributed control system at the Aemetis Advanced Fuels biorefinery in Keyes, California.

The solar array will generate approximately 3.2 million kW hours per year and reduce GHGs by  approximately 8,000 MT CO2e per year. In addition to designing and supplying the photovoltaic solar system, SunPower will serve as the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.

A microgrid is a local renewable energy grid with control capability, allowing it to disconnect from the traditional power grid and operate autonomously. The microgrid system is powered by solar power with battery storage to maximize the value of the zero-carbon intensity (CI) electricity and extend hours of power supply. The microgrid creates energy resiliency and will assist with off peak shaving and energy efficiency at the company’s low-carbon ethanol and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) upgrading and injection facility in Keyes, California.

The new AI-enabled control system will run on virtualized servers, reducing the amount of computer hardware by 80 percent, which will require less power to operate than traditional systems. Virtualized systems do not require changing hardware to upgrade obsolescent operating systems or security changes. The virtual environment will also help reduce planned and unplanned down time.

“At a time when the transportation industry is driving to meet sustainability goals and reduce emissions, solar continues to become a bigger part of our daily lives with innovative solutions that help improve our air quality,” said Eric Potts, executive vice president for commercial at SunPower. “SunPower is proud to work with Aemetis to utilize the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which drives renewable options for their operations and is helping the transportation sector decarbonize across the west. We applaud Aemetis for their leadership and leveraging the power of the sun.”

“As the leading U.S. commercial solar provider, SunPower was a logical choice to lead this critical energy efficiency project at our flagship renewable fuels production facility,” said Andy Foster, president of Aemetis Advanced Fuels.  “Combined with Schneider Electric’s world-leading process energy technologies, the solar microgrid will enhance operating efficiency, energy resilience and provide a significant return for our investors. This system will offer a meaningful reduction in our Carbon Intensity score of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard across our ecosystem of renewable fuels and ensure environmental and economic benefits.”

The $12 million solar microgrid, battery backup and AI-enabled energy system is supported by an $8 million grant awarded to Aemetis by the California Energy Commission.