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NREL, Wyle and U.S. Army Developed Consolidated Utility Base Energy System

NREL partnered with Wyle Labs and the U.S. Army to develop the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System—a solar, battery, and generator hybrid microgrid that will provide electricity to the Army's forward operating bases.

Photo of the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System, a solar, battery, and generator hybrid microgrid, in a laboratory

Photo by Dennis Schroeder

In areas where grid power is unreliable or difficult to access, microgrids offer a safe and energy-efficient solution. Wyle is working with NREL at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) to develop and test its CUBE microgrid system so the Army can bring backup energy to where it's needed most. Security isn't the only benefit of the microgrid—tests at the ESIF showed a 31% fuel savings when operating the CUBE in peak-shaving mode.

The CUBE converts power from different sources (such as solar panels, batteries, and generators) into usable electricity—and swiftly switches between different sources for an uninterrupted power supply—giving it the potential to replace diesel-powered generators at forward operating bases. Potential applications for the CUBE don't end there. Because the CUBE was designed to be adaptable, it can help generate electricity in remote locations, or provide emergency power to areas affected by natural disasters.

Read an NREL article about this project.