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2022 Senior Design Project Overview

What: PV + BESS Substation Design
Who: Civil & Electrical Engineering Majors

How we source energy is changing fast. As the grid continues to modernize with more gigawatts of renewable generation, electrical and civil engineers need to address a variety of issues across solar generation and battery energy storage solutions (BESS). Over the last two decades utility scale solar PV and BESS solutions have evolved significantly – overcoming challenges including varying topography, electrical loss, limited capacity, and maintaining reliability. As the solar PV footprint grows in United States and around the world, engineers are integrating solutions to bring more sustainable energy to the grid.

Electrical and civil engineering students partaking in the 2022 Senior Design Project will design a substation that will connect utility scale PV and BESS to the national electric grid. The project will navigate grid requirements to optimize land area, improve reliability of components, discover available generation potential, and work within the applicable codes and standards necessary for the project.

Project Deliverables will include:

  1. Calculations, drawings, & schematics
  2. Studies, simulations & mathematical models
  3. Site plans & analysis
  4. Detailed plan sets
  5. Alternative design assessments
  6. Bill of materials
  7. Risk analysis

Previous Project Overview

The goal of the 2021 Senior Design Project was to create a solar PV array while being mindful of the topography variation and structurally weak soil constraints. As solar power becomes more prevalent, we challenged our teams with a real-world example project to understand the challenges electrical and civil engineers face when design utility scale PV arrays.

A cross functional team, including renewable and civil groups, was tasked with 30%, 60%, and 100% drawing packages along with the supporting calculations. The project required navigating location constraints while completing many deliverables and milestones along the way. The goal of this project was to achieve desired budget while creating a sustainable and reliable source of electricity.

Previous Project Experiences

“I gained a lot of valuable experience along the way. Week-in & week-out, the NEI representatives pushed the team to be the best consulting engineers that we could. The project illuminated the fact that I was only familiar with power system design and lacked an understanding of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and complex power system studies.

By joining the NEI Senior Design Project, I was exposed to those fields and with the help of the NEI representatives, I was able to learn and grow along the way, all the while being able to work on a deliverable for the client. The project opened the door of the seemingly endless deluge of the Electric Power Industry and gave me a greater appreciation for all the intricacies associated with generation, transmission, and distribution.

This year-long project made apparent that I am truly passionate about this field and that NEI Electric Power Engineering is my dream company to work for.”

– Mikko Berger

Mikko Berger
Electrical Engineer II
Power Systems Renewables

“NEI’s capstone project not only provided me with a job through contacts within the company, but also a project that made me more marketable to other employers.
During the project, I had the opportunity to work with influential people at NEI.

It is not common to be able to meet with a CEO and 2 Technical Directors every week throughout the entirety of the design project. Clifton, Carson, and Keith have a lot of knowledge to share, and I learned more about the power industry and common practices during Senior Design from them than any other class within the EE curriculum.

I would recommend this project to any of my peers interested in the power field for great exposure to the industry, marketability, and potential job opportunities.”

– Timothy Clements

Timothy Clements
Electrical Engineer II
Power Systems Substations

Want to Learn More?

NEI is always looking for internships and full-time engineers to join the team. If you are Interested in learning more about longer-term opportunities please drop your information below and we will get in touch to learn more about your background, what you are looking for, and timeline. 

About NEI

Built on a culture of service, intellectual curiosity, and problem solving, NEI has been serving clients since 1982. Located down the road in Lakewood, Colorado, NEI specializes in solving challenging electric power engineering problems our clients are facing across a myriad of industries.

NEI maintains a cross-disciplinary, big-picture perspective while having deep-rooted knowledge of the details when it comes to development, design, and construction, and O&M of electrical power infrastructure. Our diverse team is comprised of Electrical Engineers, Civil / Structural Engineers, and Automation Engineers focused on projects across a variety of industries.