Microgrid Tiered Circuits Effects for a Planned Housing Community in Puerto Rico: Paper No. AT-23-C059

Daniel Villa, Jimmy Quiroz, Efrain O'Neill-Carrillo, Robert Jeffers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Puerto Rico faced a double strike from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The resulting damage required a comprehensive rebuild of electric infrastructure. There are plans and pilot projects to rebuild with microgrids to increase resilience. This paper provides a techno-economic analysis technique and case study of a potential future community in Puerto Rico that combines probabilistic microgrid design analysis with tiered circuits in building energy modeling. Tiered circuits in buildings allow electric load reduction via remote disconnection of non-critical circuits during an emergency. When coupled to a microgrid, tiered circuitry can reduce the chances of a microgrid's storage and generation resources being depleted. The analysis technique is applied to show 1) Approximate cost savings due to a tiered circuit structure and 2) Approximate cost savings gained by simultaneously considering resilience and sustainability constraints in the microgrid optimization. The analysis technique uses a resistive capacitive thermal model with load profiles for four tiers (tier 1-3 and non-critical loads). Three analyses were conducted using: 1) open-source software called Tiered Energy in Buildings and 2) the Microgrid Design Toolkit. For a fossil fuel based microgrid 30% of the total microgrid costs of 1.18 million USD were calculated where the non-tiered case keeps all loads 99.9% available and the tiered case keeps tier 1 at 99.9%, tier 2 at 95%, tier 3 at 80% availability, with no requirement on non-critical loads. The same comparison for a sustainable microgrid showed 8% cost savings on a 5.10 million USD microgrid due to tiered circuits. The results also showed 6-7% cost savings when our analysis technique optimizes sustainability and resilience simultaneously in comparison to doing microgrid resilience analysis and renewables net present value analysis independently. Though highly specific to our case study, similar assessments using our analysis technique can elucidate value of tiered circuits and simultaneous consideration of sustainability and resilience in other locations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2023
EventASHRAE 2023 Winter Conference - Atlanta, Georgia
Duration: 4 Feb 20238 Feb 2023


ConferenceASHRAE 2023 Winter Conference
CityAtlanta, Georgia

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5R00-87820


  • building energy modeling
  • microgrid design
  • Puerto Rico
  • resilience
  • sustainability
  • techno-economic analysis
  • tiered circuits


Dive into the research topics of 'Microgrid Tiered Circuits Effects for a Planned Housing Community in Puerto Rico: Paper No. AT-23-C059'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this