San Pasqual Band of Indians (SPBMI)
Valley Center, CA
Type of Application
DOE Grant Number
Project Period of Performance
This project will install a hybrid solar-storage-liquid propane microgrid system comprised of approximately 184 kilowatts (kW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity, 150 kW/300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of battery energy storage systems, and 44 kW of standby liquid propane (LP)-fueled generation. This microgrid will power essential loads for five separate but adjacent buildings owned and operated by the Tribe. This project is expected to substantially eliminate long-duration disruptions to essential tribal services due to utility outages, and save approximately $45,190 in electric energy costs per year, or $1.13 million over the system’s 25-year useful life. It is also expected to reduce net electric energy imports to the Reservation by approximately 278,300 kWh per year, or about 96% of the annual energy use for the five buildings.
San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (SPBMI) maintains a Reservation covering about 1,380 acres in northeastern San Diego County in Southern California. The Reservation is home to about 800 people, including 450 enrolled tribal members, with hundreds of additional nearby families also relying on SPBMI for public services.
SPBMI since 2015 has undertaken a series of strategic planning steps—including establishing a Tribal Energy and Resiliency Plan—and analyzed several options for achieving the Tribe’s energy and resiliency objectives. These options include consideration of multiple vendor proposals and studies, in addition to iterative modeling using HOMER Pro software.
Also, in its Energy and Resiliency Plan, SPBMI established a goal of reducing energy consumption 25% compared to its 2015 baseline and installing on-site renewable generation capacity sufficient to offset 100% of its electricity consumption by 2021. The Tribe has taken multiple substantial steps toward achieving its sustainable energy goals, including establishing a community solar deployment program that has resulted in the installation of 83 rooftop PV systems totaling more than 230 kW alternating current (AC) of generating capacity and making targeted energy efficiency upgrades, such as contracting for the replacement of old, inefficient air-conditioning units at the SPBMI Tribal Administration building. A 2016 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy helped install 23 of the 83 rooftop PV systems on the Reservation.
SPBMI’s mission includes preserving and sharing cultural traditions, improving the general welfare of the San Pasqual community, and compassionately providing for the San Pasqual people and future generations. This project seeks to support that mission directly by improving the tribal administration’s ability to maintain essential services despite interruptions to utilities and other services.
The SPBMI Microgrid Project aims to achieve four primary objectives that support the Tribe’s strategic goals, plans, and mission: 1) Ensure the availability of resilient energy for five essential tribal facilities as identified in the San Pasqual Hazard Mitigation Plan and described in the San Pasqual Energy & Resiliency Plan, 2) Provide solar generation sufficient to achieve net-zero energy consumption at the five essential facilities, 3) Reduce the Tribe’s lifetime levelized cost of energy (LCOE), and 4) Support tribal energy objectives, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Secondary objectives include supporting local workforce development and employment, in part by using commercially available and warranted technologies that can be operated and maintained by tribal staff. Expected outcomes from the project include substantially eliminating long-duration disruptions to essential tribal services due to utility outages, reducing lifetime energy costs by approximately $1.13 million, and producing approximately 6.5 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity over the system’s lifetime.
This project will meet the goals of the San Pasqual Energy & Resiliency Plan by providing a renewable-powered system capable of providing resilient energy supplies for five buildings identified as essential in the San Pasqual Hazard Mitigation Plan. The system will apply grid-forming battery technology to enable solar-only operation—with a small amount of LP-fueled standby capacity. This approach will ensure the system can use its cost-saving solar PV assets to help protect the Tribe’s most critical assets from outage-causing events of short and long duration—including foreseeable catastrophic earthquake and wildfire events that impede access to the Reservation and complicate genset rentals and fuel deliveries.
The project will design and install an integrated renewable electricity generation, storage, and control system to supply resilient electricity for five essential tribal facilities that serve the San Pasqual Reservation and neighboring communities in San Diego County. The system will include rooftop-mounted PV arrays, carport-mounted PV arrays, (184 kW direct current), battery energy storage systems (150 kW/300 kWh), and propane-fueled standby gensets (2 x 22 kW), as well as microgrid and load-control systems.
SPBMI will implement this project in two phases: 1) Design Engineering; and 2) Deployment and Commissioning. Phase 1 also includes procurement of all system components and services, including PV systems; battery energy storage systems; fossil-fueled standby generators; microgrid controls; energy-management controls; and design engineering, construction, commissioning, and operation and maintenance training services.
In addition to adding assets and controls, the system will require reconfiguration of campus electricity distribution infrastructure, including upgrading existing single-phase lines to three-phase service, installing net-generation and master/submeters, and deploying safety and protection systems for a single point of interconnection with the utility secondary distribution system.
SPBMI maintains a Reservation covering about 1,380 acres in northeastern San Diego County in Southern California. This project will design and install an integrated renewable electricity generation, storage, and control system to supply resilient electricity for five essential tribal facilities that serve the San Pasqual Reservation and neighboring communities in San Diego County.
The project was competitively selected under the Office of Indian Energy Fiscal Year 2018 funding opportunity announcement “Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands - 2018” (DE-FOA-0001847) and started in November 2018.
The December 2018, November 2019, December 2020, and November 2022 project status reports provide more information.