SPIKE: Empower the Powerless

The Galvin Center has launched a new initiative called SPIKE which stands for "Spearheading Poverty Inhibition through Klean Energy" for empowering the powerless. The SPIKE's key technology innovation is the Affordable Microgrid (AM) program. The SPIKE initiative leverages the IIT’s strength in renewable energy and smart grid technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment. The SPIKE initiative is a joint effort of the IIT's Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation (led by Dr. Mohammad Shahidehpour) and Stuart Business School (led by Dr. Ghazale Haddadian). The initial focus areas of the SPIKE initiative encompass American Indian Tribes in the United States, and residents in the United States Virgin Islands (a U.S. territory), Sierra Leon, and Ghana (two sub-Saharan countries). The SPIKE project team believes that a simple microgrid design for extreme affordability, which is seldom available in designated locations, represents its ultimate objective.



Offgrid Streetlights at IIT Microgrid

IIT has completed the installation of four Aris Wind's Off-Grid Remote Power Units (RPUs) in the vicinity of its Keating hall Nanogrid. The unique lighting system consists of a 250W solar panel, a 230 amp-hour battery, a 300W wind turbine, and 80W LED light. CSMART Partner, Willdan Energy Solutions, collaborated with Aris Wind and IIT to modernize the campus streetlights and open the door for future research opportunities on smart cities. In addition to providing emissions free renewable-powered light to the campus streets, the ARIS units also provide USB cellphone charging and the ability to connect sensors or cameras for monitoring purposes at the IIT microgrid.


Nanogrid at IIT

The Keating hall nanogrid is the latest feature of the IIT microgrid. The IIT nanogrid is an islandable network of power generation, storage systems, and demand response for enhancing the energy reliability and efficiency at Keating Hall. The IIT nanogrid is equipped with solar power supply that keeps the lights on and charges the onsite battery bank. If there is a power outage at the IIT campus, the nanogrid can island itself from the rest of the microgrid and continue to operate as an islanded system for an extended period.




Charging Station at IIT

On March 19, 2012, the Galvin Center opened its smart electric vehicle charging station at IIT. The setup includes nine electric vehicle charging stations, including one DC Quick Chargers, which can charge an electric vehicle in approximately 15 minutes, and six Level 2 stations that can charge an electric vehicle in five to six hours. There are two additional chargers for electric vehicles belong to the I-GO car sharing program. The charging station is adjacent to a 25kW solar canopy which provided the daily charges to electric vehicles without overloading the campus distribution grid. The chargers are free and open to the public, providing a convenient charge for electric vehicle drivers on nearby Lake Shore Drive and the Dan Ryan Expressway. The electric vehicle charging station is connected to IIT Microgrid which coordinates the electric vehicle charging with on-campus battery usage and building load management to minimize the impact of daytime electric vehicle charging on the IIT campus load. The new charging stations were donated by Eaton Corporation to IIT for demonstration on the IIT Microgrid, with the additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.


Offgrid Solar Installtion

While IIT Microgrid is undergoing an electric power renaissance, the faculty, staff, and students at the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation are eager to share their expertise with the rest of the world and spur greater energy innovations that can enhance individuals’ lives in impoverished communities globally. Compact solar PV-based water pumps designed by IIT students and faculty can provide villagers with clean well-water. Also IIT-based offgrid systems tied with renewable sources of energy provide necessary supplies of electricity for lighting, refrigeration, and other requisites of life that can save lives in various parts of the world.



The CSMART project team has combined existing talents and developed new skills around power engineering, networking, and database management to create a SCADA system for the IIT Microgrid. The IIT SCADA system, which is developed at IIT based on the OSIsoft software, is an excellent tool for advanced monitoring, reporting, and diagnoses of microgrid events. OSIsoft provides a platform for integration of various proprietary data sources of the microgrid into one historical database, opening the door to advanced analytics, faster searching, and easier reporting for students, faculty, or facility managers using the OSIsoft's seamless integration of the SCADA system with the Microsoft software suite.


©2016 Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation.