July 22, 2016

Plaza Provision Company cuts energy costs by over 30% using Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage System

Case Studies

Cost saving refrigeration units in warehouse

Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is an effective energy savings strategy that allows thermal energy to be stored when electricity is less expensive and used later when prices are higher and utility demand charges and consumption are at their daily peak. TES systems have been in use for decades, mainly in HVAC applications to lower energy costs and ease demand on the electrical grid. 

Companies in other energy intensive industries, such as supermarkets and cold storage facilities, are now discovering the potential of TES to store thermal energy at night and use stored energy during the day to shift load and reduce consumption. Using TES also helps companies achieve sustainability goals by reducing carbon footprint.

The Challenge:

Plaza Provision Company, a leading food distributor in Puerto Rico, needed help managing energy costs. The cost of electricity is one of the largest operating expenses of cold storage facilities. The challenge for Plaza was to lower electricity consumption while maintaining a target temperature of 0° Fahrenheit in three cold storage installations totaling 25,455 sq. ft.

The Solution:    

In 2010, Viking Cold installed the first Plaza location with its TES solution. The system uses an environmentally friendly, proprietary phase change material (PCM) custom formulated for the client’s specific temperature requirements.

When rates are high or if there are peak demand charges, the refrigeration equipment can be turned off and the TES system will take over. During this time, the PCM absorbs the heat and maintains the freezer’s target temperature of 0° F. Then the heat is extracted later. The result is an over 30% reduction in energy consumption.

Plaza learned the benefit of TES with its first installation and has since installed two additional systems in 2013 and 2014. Plaza has saved over $200,000 per year in energy consumption by storing thermal energy at night and using it during the day to reduce electricity consumption.

The Payoff:

Plaza’s investments in Viking Cold’s TES systems have resulted in a cumulative savings of over $650,000 by reducing energy consumption by 3,200 MWh, and reducing carbon footprint by 2,200 metric tons.

During the first five years of operation, average energy costs dropped by 28%. In 2016, year to date savings across the three systems is over 36%.

Plaza is now installing a fourth Viking Cold TES system which will further enhance their bottom line.

Viking Cold’s patented system provides several benefits in addition to cost savings:

  • Smart energy storage. TES solutions store refrigeration when electricity costs are lowest and distribute it during times of peak demand, when costs are highest. This solution has been shown to offset as much as 90% of peak demand charges.
  • Long-lasting operation. TES systems are built to last more than 20 years, and each system installs easily alongside the existing refrigeration equipment.
  • Vital protection during outages.
    The TES solution provides backup cooling protection that maintains temperature during power outages or mechanical failure preventing food spoilage.
  • Measurement, Reporting and Predictive Capability. The solution includes monitoring and reporting with alarms that provide early warning when refrigeration issues arise. The system’s predictive capabilities allow for equipment maintenance or repair at the earliest indication of a problem, thus avoiding inefficient runtime and more expensive future repairs.

Why Thermal Energy Storage?

As the success of Plaza Provision Company shows, TES solutions can be used in refrigeration based businesses such as cold storage and supermarkets to reduce energy consumption. Shifting the refrigeration loads from daytime to nighttime helps reduce peak demand costs and overall consumption. Expanding the use of TES across cold storage and supermarket industries will provide significant environmental benefits by reducing carbon footprint, reducing energy consumption, and speeding up the transition to a more environmentally-friendly power grid.

Plaza Provision Company’s system is among twenty-four that Viking Cold Solutions has installed in cold storage warehouses and supermarkets in Puerto Rico, Bermuda, St. Thomas, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Viking Cold Solutions™ is an energy management company focused on making the world’s cold storage systems more efficient. The Viking Cold team has deep expertise in cold storage energy management, supermarket energy management, and thermal energy storage systems.

Viking Cold provides energy storage solutions that reduce operational costs and business risk for cold storage and supermarkets with high refrigeration-based energy loads. The company is expanding rapidly throughout the U.S. and internationally. Learn more at vikingcold.com.

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