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How GreenStruxure’ Energy as a Service is making Montgomery County’s Animal Shelter Resilient and Sustainable

GreenStruxure commissioned the on-site renewable energy microgrid for Montgomery County’s animal shelter in November 2022.  The system had its first test 10 days later.

It was an unexpected test, but Montgomery County’s latest microgrid passed its first test with “flying” colors. The microgrid system was called into action due to the now infamous Sunday, November 27 event when a small plane crashed into power lines in the county. Commissioned just 10 days earlier, the microgrid delivered backup power seamlessly to the county’s animal shelter, located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood, Md.

Plane Power
“This crash was something you can never really prepare for. It was really unfortunate and caused widespread power outages throughout the county,” said Denise Wade, property manager at the animal shelter. “Our animal shelter is a critical facility for the county and the microgrid delivered as expected, continuously powering the site until utility power was restored three hours later. Our animals and staff remained safe, we reported no problems at our site and no business impact.”

The animal shelter is considered a critical facility for the county, housing its animal control facilities, an animal medical facility, an adoption center, and other animal services. The microgrid at the shelter includes solar carports and rooftop solar, a microgrid controller, and other electrical infrastructure. It also includes GreenStruxure’s Beyond the Grid® digital platform, which monitors the system and automatically switched to backup power to continuously power the site during the outage. 


“We have a state-of-the-art, elite certified animal shelter and this was the next step in making it more resilient and sustainable,” said Michael Yambrach, Chief, Office of Energy and Sustainability, Montgomery County Department of General Services. “During any outages or weather events, we want our residents to know that animals under our care are safe and protected, and our critical operations for animal control are uninterrupted.”

GreenStruxure is a leading Energy as a Service company, delivering on-site, zero carbon, digital energy to help customers meet their sustainability and business continuity goals with no capital upfront, price certainty, and no operational risks. The company designed, built, operates, and maintains the on-site renewable energy microgrid through an energy services agreement with the county. Montgomery County receives the outcomes of the microgrid’s performance – notably, about 35% of the site's load is served by solar energy, and improves resilience at the critical facility by using solar power combined with backup generators to reduce fuel consumption and extend the operating time during utility power outages.  

“While we would have never foreseen this type of scenario, we’re very proud to work with Montgomery County and to deliver for them in this first test,” said Jose Lorenzo, CEO, GreenStruxure. “The county has taken a real leadership role when it comes to sustainability and resilience. We’re confident GreenStruxure’s outcome-based, standardized, modular approach is uniquely positioned for sites such as this animal shelter.”

Montgomery County has been a national leader in responding to the challenge of climate change. The county is committed to sustainability leadership and improving resilience after experiencing first-hand the impact of extreme weather events and power outages. The county set goals in December 2017 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. Under the leadership of County Executive Marc Elrich, the county developed an aggressive Climate Action Plan to achieve its GHG goals. 

“We never know when a man-made or a natural disaster will happen to our electric grid, but, by building resiliency through innovative means and partnerships, we are prepared for when those moments occur,” said County Executive Elrich. “When a small plane crashed into high tension wires and knocked out power to tens of thousands of County residents, the animals and our employees who take care of them were able to seamlessly continue their operations because they were connected to the microgrid. This is exactly why we invest in these partnerships. They provide safety, sustainability, and resiliency to all who reside in Montgomery County - whether they have two legs or four.” 

“This GreenStruxure microgrid project and our continued partnership with Montgomery County are more proof points of the way we see this market headed and how we work with like-minded organizations,” said Annette Clayton, CEO, of Schneider Electric North America. “With our innovative Energy as a Service approach, we offer more scalable solutions to accelerate the adoption of microgrids while delivering triple-bottom-line results for our customers: sustainability, resilience, cost affordability, and predictability. This crash was unusual but once again proved the results possible.”

Currently, the county is working with GreenStruxure on additional sites for future deployment.

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