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Microgrid System Ensures UCSD Facilities Always Have Power

Military Microgrid

Customer Situation

As one of the nation’s top research universities, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) requires a reliable source of electric power to sustain their world-class marine and medical research facilities.

This led the university to build their own microgrid so that even during bulk electric power system disturbances, these critical facilities would always have power.

The microgrid solution for UCSD had two requirements:

  • Resiliency—They needed a reliable way to balance available generation and critical loads when islanded from the grid while still maintaining protection and device coordination.
  • Flexibility—There are numerous distributed energy resources across campus that needed to be integrated into the solution.

Customer Profile

  • Customer: University of California, San Diego
  • Location: La Jolla, California
  • Industry: Education
  • Application: Microgrid


SEL Engineering Services designed a solution using SEL powerMAX Power Management and Control System technology to quickly balance the load and available generation on the university’s microgrid in the event of a disturbance. The system combines SEL intelligent electronic devices located throughout the campus, including protection, control, automation, and communications products.

UCSD System


UCSD’s powerMAX protection and control system was installed in the summer of 2015. Today, UCSD’s microgrid is able to detect unstable conditions in the main grid and quickly island itself, and shed noncritical load so that critical areas like SIO and the UC San Diego Health System can maintain reliable operation. In addition, the campus has the flexibility to manage its power import from the grid and generate power locally.

At a university like UC San Diego, the importance of ensuring a reliable source of energy cannot be overstated. As one of the nation’s 10 largest centers for science, engineering and medicine, we need to do everything possible to prevent a power supply disruption.

John Dilliott, Associate Director, Energy and Utilities
University of California, San Diego

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Innovation, Persistence, and a New Beginning