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University of Utah Install is MPS Showpiece

University of Utah Install is MPS Showpiece


Several organizations affiliated with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City have their data protected thanks to a Generac MPS installation that will scale from the current 5 MW to 11MW. It is a success that exemplifies how dealer teamwork yields more. With an engineer in one territory and the job site in another, teamwork paid off with an exceptionally large project, and a Generac MPS showpiece.

Generac MPS systems provide up to 9 megawatts per bus, but this installation needed more. The Generac team was able to work with the customer to meet their needs by installing two separate MPS systems on two separate buses. Comprised of a total of 11 Generac Gemini™ diesel backup generators—five on one bus and six on another—this installation backs up the data centers for both the University of Utah and University of Utah Hospital.

“Reliability was absolutely critical in this installation, as it is in all data center applications,” said Curt Gibson, power solutions manager, Generac. “This is an N+2 system that achieves a reliability of five nines, which exceeds Uptime Institute’s Tier IV certification. And despite the number of nodes and unique approach, we were able to do it more cost effectively and with a smaller footprint than the competitive solution.”

Originally the spec had required large 2 megawatt single-engine nodes connected in parallel using traditional switchgear. Gibson and Energy Management Corporation (EMC), the Generac Industrial Dealer Central (IDC) of Utah, worked with the engineering firm and electrician in Salt Lake City to present the value of integrated paralleling.

“Our MPS solution reduced costs by eliminating the custom paralleling controls,” Gibson said. “That was a very attractive differentiator.” The electrical contractor working on the project also had familiarity installing Generac’s Gemini generators, and was able to document how the installation of the Gemini units would reduce labor costs compared to competitive systems. The lack of external switchgear coupled with the more readily available Gemini units also helped to significantly reduce the lead time required for installing the units.

Two other issues to be addressed were space, which was a critical issue in the yard where the generators were installed, and sound levels. After giving their MPS presentation and producing a schematic that showed how the MPS solution would fit the footprint and meet the noise criteria in the spec (the Gemini units were quieter at the outset than the competitive product), Generac and EMC were awarded the job.

The five Gemini units on the one bus were installed and commissioned in 2011. The other six units are slated to be installed in the near future as needed. A 22,000 gallon diesel fuel tank serves the five Gemini units, and a separate such tank will be installed with the other six units. While the fuel storage and delivery system was designed by the engineering firm, EMC worked closely with them on all aspects of system integration.