Why make the energy shift? You'll improve your bottom line today and well into the future. When generating electricity onsite, what your neighbor has may not be the best for your business. Choosing the right technology mix and sizes are critical. Your technology mix will depend on how you use energy and whether you want to maximize savings, protect sensitive equipment or ensure 24/7 backup.
The Microgrid in Action
A microgrid is an electrical system in which the facilities and equipment are connected to the grid, but that can also be isolated from the grid and still maintain power. Although microgrids can be designed to operate indefinitely, they are more often engineered to maintain power for a matter of hours, not days.
There are three basic components of a microgrid:
- Generation – A microgrid needs a local source of power. This may be solar, wind, fuel cells or generators and is likely combined with batteries. Microgrids frequently include a dispatchable energy source, one that can be turned on or off as needed such as a diesel generator.
- Switchgear – Some infrastructure is needed to disconnect from and reconnect to the grid – known as ‘islanding' – and to reconnect when needed.
- Controller – A proper control system knows when islanding is necessary and it sends the signals to island, initiate generation, use batteries and flip switches.
A microgrid allows the customer to be immune to disruptions in energy supply from the grid. A microgrid may also help control costs by providing predictable generation on-site and reducing the use of increasingly expensive grid energy.
Battery storage has become more relevant and useful in microgrids because of its declining cost and increased functionality and controls.