• Joe Collins

Microgrid? What’s That?

I think we can all agree, renewable energy, especially solar, is changing the way electricity is produced.

Before too long, many of the devices we use today that are powered by gas and oil will be powered by electricity.

So the production, delivery and security of electricity will continue to play a more prominent role in how our modern society operates.

As a result, the electric grid will become more decentralized in the coming decade.

It's just a fact of the growing renewable energy presence in the world of electricity.

Which leads us to the microgrid.

What is it exactly?

According to Microgrid Knowledge, “A microgrid is a self-sufficient energy system that serves a discrete geographic footprint, such as a college campus, hospital complex, business center, or neighborhood.”

It’s still connected to the central grid, but enables the owner to disconnect at will.

It’s like having your own private power plant. Just much better looking. Picture something like this.

What’s wrong with the central grid we have today?

Couple things….

Delivering electricity over long distances is inefficient and costly. Many experts say as much as 8-15% dissipates in transit.

Microgrids create energy where it is used, no need to transport it and pay more.

Also, when a natural disaster hits and the grid goes down a microgrid can operate independently.

Another thing…

A microgrid is intelligent. Or as they say in Boston “wicked smaaat.” They can manage batteries and generators and disconnect from the central grid when it’s cheaper or more reliable to do so.

Well why not just create backup storage for a solar array. What do you need a microgrid for?

The big problem with backup storage is that it’s not being used most of the time, until you have an emergency and need it.

So it doesn’t always stay in good working order like a microgrid does.

That’s why airports, hotels, manufacturers and other industries are building microgrids.

They're great for savings, reliability and energy independence.

How the central grid functions is going the “way of the dinosaur” as the age of the microgrid approaches.

Joe Collins is a solar consultant and the owner of CIE Solar Energy, LLC.

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