Everyday, we see the growing need for electricity amidst the technology-centric development. The digital economy depends upon vast data centers. Urban centers need internet of things and interconnected work systems, which all depend upon electric power. Along with the increasing demand, energy price keeps increasing, thus putting more burdens, not only for households but also for businesses.
Microgrid technology seems like promising. Even though it has been around for decades, it seems to more important nowadays. It is under way and its use keeps increasing. Microgrid refers to a group of connected loads and power sources. The size may vary, depending upon the needs. It may be used for a single house or even for a campus. As they operate on their own way, microgrids can minimize the risk of fire in case of disturbances, which lead to instability of power lines. As they work in isolation from other power sources, microgrids are definitely safer.
Microgrid technology offers smart solution for businesses, households, or any units that need alternative and affordable sources of electric power
Microgrid is a stand-alone electrical systems. They consist of a number of generating sources and loans that operate autonomously from the utility grid. Therefore, microgrids are reliable solutions for unexpected power loss in an effective way. They balance spikes in energy demand and help the owner to optimize energy use.
Prospects of Company-Owned Microgrid Technology as a Power Source
With the prospects offered by the Microgrid technology, the companies now can seek for the opportunities to use them to make their own electric sources. It is not surprising that many companies now invest more for privately-owned power grids. Some of them even succeed to build more reliable and affordable power grids. They can build the power source where they need electricity. The energy sources may vary from wind turbines or other clean sources of energy.
A report released by the Renewables 2016 Global Status noted that there were significant rise in investment for renewable energy in 2016. With total investments of around $286 billion, it was the fastest growth during the last 10 years. Instances include ELM FeldSight. The company successfully built its own microgrids. The company found it easier to manage and control. The electric power is easier to produce and easier to store.
In response to the increasing use of microgrid technology as a power source for companies, other companies offer their skills and expertise to help the companies build their own microgrids. For instance, ELM Energy, which is present in Montana, Texas, and Illinois, offers help for the companies to develop new technology and to produce renewable power.
Benefits of Microgrid Technology as Electric Sources
Microgrid can operate while being connected to a conventional grid, which is centralized in a powerhouse, or work independently off the grid. Many companies choose it because of several reasons, including:
• Reliability. As mentioned above, microgrids are reliable, where traditional grids are unstable. They operate locally; therefore, in case of disturbances, the damage can be minimized. For instance, when a house that makes use of microgrids is in electricity-related problem, other houses in the area are not affected.
• Affordability. This is another key advantage of microgrid technology. It is an attractive choice where electricity is expensive. They consume less energy than traditional centralized grids do. It can make use of combined sources of clean energy. The power can be piped into batteries. Therefore, the owners can use them in the future
• Environmental safety. Microgrid technology is more environmentally safe, as it reduces emissions, which lead to pollution.
• Versatility; microgrid is a versatile technology of power sources. It does not target a specific industry; instead, it can be used for private residence, housing complex, college campus, company of any size, or basically, anyone who needs electric power.
Due to these advantages, the use of microgrid technology is increasing in a number of countries. For instance, ELM FeldSight has customers in the United States, Canada, Virgin Island, Bahamas, Central America, and South America.
Internet and Microgrid Technology for Electricity
Traditionally, the electric power comes into your house from a remote power plant. The power travels over miles of power line and there is a utility meter in your house to measure the use of electric power. Your monthly electric bill is determined by the utility meter. Once the power travels into your house, it is then yours. The case is different for microgrid-based electricity.
Microgrid electricity works based on a distributed power generation. The power is produced by a utility company by using various sources of renewable energy, such as solar panels, generators, natural gas, wind turbines, or other sources of clean energy. It works behind the meter, which is situated on the customer’s utility. There is no meter system, which determines the amount you pay every month.
More interestingly, microgrid has been the subject of technology advancement. Internet has made it easier to manage. For instance, ELM FeldSight has a microgrid site to manage the power sources based on certain criteria. The site works on an intelligent Dell Edge Gateway. It works for controlling different sources of renewable energy. The company controls all the power generation equipment by using the site controller.
This is a smart solution to make everything work together. The company can monitor the energy conditions for the customers to make sure that everything works on the right way. In addition, the company can monitor the power use pattern and make intelligent decision on the power use on overall.
Besides working for the company, the site controller works for the customers. It connects to the internet and provides the customers with important notifications, email reports, or alarms by means of mobile devices and a secure web portal. For instance, the customers will get alarm notification about the status of solar panels, battery-charging status, and the amount of fuel left in a generator.
Microgrid technology seems to offer a smarter solution where electricity becomes a problem. It can also be the right choices for houses, which are far from the electric lines. Businesses that have heavy financial burdens due to electric bill may consider having microgrids. Of course, the technology is still developing, and we will see how it benefits the modern society.