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Solar Micro Grid

By James Kennedy, Founder and President Beach Cities Solar Consulting LLC

Solar Micro Grid

What is a Solar Micro grid?

A solar micro grid is an integrated network or ‘grid’ of power. Think of it in the same way that you and your neighbors receive your electricity – through a shared network. Using energy generated from the sun, the system captures, stores, and distributes clean electricity to an entire community, farm, or vineyard. This is done by installing large, high quality solar panels and batteries in a central location.  Once the equipment has been installed, the project is completed by connecting electrical wiring from the central power location to nearby houses, businesses, and farms. With the increase in rolling blackouts in California these are a viable alternative to PG&E.

Sound familiar to how you get power? That’s because it likely is! The only difference is the size of the system and the use of solar panels. So, instead of households managing and repairing their own personal generators, they are connected to a community-wide energy provider. With a solar micro grid, when a family turns on their lights or runs their refrigerator, they draw power from the central ‘hub’ on-demand. Each month, families either pay a flat usage fee or a metered bill for energy that they personally used from the larger, shared network. These fees are collected and managed by an elected committee of community members (rather than a private or public utility company) and go towards future repairs or expansion of the network.

Thus far, Solar Micro grids have been used to power homes, hospitals, schools, businesses, irrigation pumps for agriculture, and more.

Where is the Solar Micro grid appropriate?

These solutions are broadly seen as a viable and robust solution to rural electrification around the world. These systems are most appropriate in remote communities that are unable to connect to existing infrastructure provided by the government or private companies. For this reason, they are well-suited for communities on small islands, within mountainous regions, and in remote rural areas. Due to its reliance on the sun, solar micro grids perform at their best in regions that experience lots of sunshine. To deal with cloudy weather, most systems also have storage capabilities that allow them to operate through stretches of sparse sunlight.

This technology is an exciting renewable energy solution due to their application at any scale and their ability to be expanded later.  Should a community grow, the solar micro grid can be expanded to connect more families and businesses.

A Solar Micro Grid System Is Made Up Of Solar Panels & Batteries
What does a micro grid cost?
This study found that micro grid systems built for the commercial/industrial sector have the highest average cost, at $4 million per megawatt, followed by campus/institutional systems at $3.3 million, utility at $2.5 million, and community at $2.1 million. These differences may be due to economies of scale, with projects that have between 2-10 MW.

Contact Us! 

BCSC LLC can run a competitive request for a solar micro grid proposal from thousands of qualified nationwide solar & storage providers for your organization.  Inquire today: info@beachcitiessolarconsulting.com