What are Microgrids ?
Microgrids are smaller cousins of our large electrical grid. They are a smaller electrical power generating network of generator units that are independent of the power generator running our huge grids. They are composed of several generating units like Solar or Photo Voltaic (PV) systems, storage batteries and back up generators.
Earthquakes, Natural Disasters and Other Threats. When the Big One Hits !
I lived the first 17 years of my life on an island in the Philippines called Catanduanes. Because of our geographical location, we were and still are being hit by typhoons almost every year. Super typhoons at category 5 hit us an average of once every 3-5 years. The devastation is total for the most part when this category 5 storms hit. A great percentage of homes and yes, power lines are down and they stay down for months before they get repaired.
I have not had an experience of being in an earthquake disaster. I hope it does not come. But out here in Southern California, some of us live very close to the dreaded San Andreas Fault. My house sits 12 miles away from this monster. Needless to say, I am a bit worried about it.
Earthquakes, huge typhoons or hurricanes and yes fires and lately hackers trying to bring our aging and very fragile national electrical grid are real threats to our very existence and safety. And also imagine losing your power during winter!
Microgrids To The Rescue !
Microgrids are now being built in different sizes and configurations. A home can have these systems installed and have the security of surviving a natural disaster as cited above. Solar panels could be designed to power up the house and charge the batteries during the day. The batteries in turn take over the task of powering up the house at night while the panels take a break. Solar panels are dependent upon the radiant energy of the sun to produce electricity. They do not produce during the night.
Diesel or propane powered generators are on standby to power the house directly or charge the batteries when and if the panels fail to charge up the batteries during the day. Great battery storage are now able to run homes for at least three days without a recharge.
New Homes in California Now Required to Have Solar Systems !
One of the best decisions by the leadership in California is to have new homes fitted with Solar Systems (PV). In time other states will follow. It is not just to protect ourselves from the potential loss of electrical power. Solar or PV systems are one of the best investments of our hard-earned money. They can cut down our power bills by more than 60-70 percent.
On-Grid and Off-Grid Microgrids
On-grid Microgrid systems are connected to the main electrical grid run by electric utility companies. They have the choice to allow the system to interact with this bigger grid. Off-grid systems do not have that same choice because of their location. Examples of this are remote facilities up the mountains. Microgrids are now able to run homes, big buildings or facilities or even compounds completely independent of any external grids. Your own home could be configured as an off-grid system.
Netmetering is a monitoring and measuring device that computes the net power in kilowatt hour (kwhr) of the incoming power from the electrical company and the outgoing power from the PV or solar system. Incoming power is the power coming in to the end user when the PV system does not produce enough electricity to support its electrical loads. Outgoing power is the power going out to the grid when the PV system generates more power than the end user consumes. The net power is recorded and become part of your total electrical bill for the month.
Opportunities In This Industry Is Worldwide
For the first time in the world’s history, we have an electrical power generating system that uses FREE FUEL, the radiant energy from the sun. Granted that it is an expensive initial investment to buy these systems, their ROI makes a lot of sense. It is no wonder that people around the world are installing these systems in every size and configuration. They save money and they are able to protect themselves from power failures (typical in third world countries) . I have been an enthusiast of this new industry since 2011. My observation is that our biggest challenge is the total cost of the systems. Even the United States, the richest nation on earth, offer Federal Tax Incentives amounting to 30% of the total installation cost to home-owners or taxpayers who opt to purchase the systems. The opportunity for investors and installers is indeed huge seeing that fully more than 1 Billion people in the world are still without electricity.
For our WA affiliates who become MultiBillionaires or even just multimillionaires, this one industry is a great one to throw your spare change into as a good investment. : )