Ashleigh AngellNovember 2, 20186320
Many people have seen the word “microgrids” around multiple solar energy websites, but most people still don’t totally understand what they are. Mainly, they are great for keeping solar power systems up and running no matter what kinds of disasters befall the rest of the system, making them a great option for community power systems. Keep reading this blog to learn about what microgrids are and what benefits they can offer to a community power system.
What are microgrids?
Microgrids integrate and distribute energy sources of different kinds. Whilst they are making headlines in the renewable energy industry, they are traditionally used to distribute and store conventional energy sources such as gas and diesel. The term “microgrid” just refers to a local and independent system that provides agency over energy resources in order to make them usable within communities. When we talk about microgrids in the Solar Power industry, we are talking about much the same thing. The main difference is that the energy is from solar sources that are renewable as opposed to fossil fuel sources, which, as we all know, damage the environment.
GTM Research suggests that the US solar microgrid industry has the capacity to reach 7.1 GW by 2023. Their predictions for microgrid technology include an increase in incentive programs to encourage microgrid usage, increased interest from energy companies and increased discussion on the benefits of microgrids.
What makes a microgrid different from the main grid?
A solar microgrid is a renewable energy system that acts independently of the main grid, although it can also integrate and interact with the main grid when it wishes. Whilst both solar energy and solar microgrids are great for the environment, as they both generate energy using solar power, microgrids are able to remove themselves from the main grid in what is called “islanding”. This means that if there is an issue with one area of energy output, the whole grid will not be affected. This has proven extremely useful in natural disasters, since the solar microgrid can isolate itself from the area of complication, meaning energy can still be provided to unaffected areas that are working off the same main grid.
A microgrid can also combine energy sources so that you may use both fossil fuel and solar energy in a combined effort to lower damage to the environment, whilst also providing a reliable power system for communities at all times.
What are the benefits of solar microgrids?
As a result of the above, microgrids are extremely beneficial to communities that need reliable renewable energy sources. Using a microgrid will result in greater stability for community power systems, due to its ability to isolate itself from the main grid which can come under attack from natural disasters and an electrical fault.
Microgrids will also be especially beneficial to communities where people don’t have access to electricity, such as India and Africa, and in remote places that are prone to natural disasters. The way that microgrids can easily separate themselves from the main grid makes them such a reliable and beneficial part of the solar power movement. Now that this microgrid technology is in place, it is hard for critics of solar power energy to claim that solar energy isn’t as reliable as traditional forms of energy. With the rise of microgrids, solar energy has caught up with traditional energy forms such as gas and diesel.
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