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    Micro-grid FAQs

    A microgrid is a localized energy grid with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously.
    Microgrids operate 24/7/365 managing and supplying energy to their customers from a variety of energy sources.

    Battery backup systems are not always a Micro Grid. Most only provide temporary short-term power with limited system integration.
    Simple back-up generators also are not microgrids. Such systems are only employed in emergencies and have a very limited capacity to power all your needs. Generators are only 30% efficient and typically provide dirty power.

    There are three main types of microgrids:
    • Remote (Off Grid)
    • Grid-interactive (connected)
    • Networked (multiple Micro-Grids tied together)
    ESI provides solutions for all 3 types.

    A microgrid is a local energy system which incorporates three key components; Generation, Storage and Demand all within a bounded and controlled network. It may or may not be connected to the grid.

    A microgrid utilizes various energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, Hydro, fuel cell, battery storage, generators and combined heat and power (CHP) systems–operating separately or in tandem.

    CHP is an energy efficient technology that generates electricity and captures the heat that would otherwise be wasted to provide useful thermal energy—such as steam or hot water—that can be used for space heating, cooling, domestic hot water, Pools and Spas and industrial processes.

    To understand how a microgrid works, you first have to understand how the grid works.
    The grid connects homes, businesses and other buildings to central power sources, which allow us to use appliances, heating/cooling systems and electronics. But this interconnectedness means that when part of the grid needs to be repaired or fails, everyone is affected.
    This is where a microgrid can help. A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of interruption caused by storms, earthquakes, planned and unplanned power outages.
    A microgrid can be powered by distributed generators, batteries, and/or renewable resources like solar panels. Depending on how it’s fueled and how its requirements are managed, a microgrid might run indefinitely. Micro-Grids can automatically switch from the public utility to your other sources when power is cheaper for you to produce.

    A microgrid connects to the grid at your utility service panel and maintains voltage at the same level as the main grid unless there is some sort of problem on the grid or other reason to disconnect. A switch can separate the microgrid from the main grid automatically or manually, and it then functions as an island, providing energy from other sources integrated into the Micro-Grid.

    A microgrid not only provides backup for the grid in case of emergencies, but can also be used to cut costs, or connect to a local renewable energy resource. A microgrid allows property owners to be more energy independent and more environmentally friendly.

    Microgrids have long been used in remote areas to power off-grid villages, military operations or industrial projects. Increasingly they're being used in cities or towns, in urban centers, on university or corporate campuses, in hospitals or at data centers and are now being installed in homes and small commercial applications thanks to ESI’s BAM Micro-Grids.

    Our BAM Micro-Grids range in size from 3 kilowatts (kW) up to 1 Megawatt (MW). Perfect for medium sized homes, estate and off grid properties and up to small commercial applications.

    Microgrids are a great, reliable backup source of power in times of need. They should also be considered because they cut costs and give communities and property owners access to clean energy which is much more environmentally friendly.

    Microgrids provide everything from greater reliability and resilience to cleaner power and economic development.They're designed to work in unison with distributed energy resources (DERs) that include solar panels, fuel cells, and battery storage.

    Distributed energy resources, or DERs, are small-scale electricity supply or demand resources that are interconnected to your electric grid. They are power generation resources and are usually located close to property, and can be used individually or in aggregate to provide value to the grid. Examples of distributed energy resources that can be installed include:
    • solar photovoltaic units
    • wind generating units
    • battery storage
    • combined heat and power units, or tri-generation units that also utilize waste heat to provide heat and cooling
    • biomass generators, which are fueled with waste gas or industrial and agricultural by-products.
    • open and closed cycle gas turbines
    • Generators (diesel, oil, Natural Gas or Propane)
    • hydro and mini-hydro schemes
    • fuel cells

    Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale. It includes sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

    Microgrids are local energy grids that can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously. Microgrids have the ability to strengthen and reinforce the traditional grid because they can function even when the main grid is down and are optimal for integrating renewable sources of energy.

    An ideal resource for a grid-connected microgrid is Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plants, which typically burn natural gas. These CHP systems provide the Thermal energy needs of a property and are 80% efficient vs. A generator being only 30% efficient. Solar arrays typically provide the electrical needs for charging the battery storage system.

    Because they are able to operate while the main grid is down, microgrids can strengthen grid resilience and help mitigate grid disturbances as well as function as a grid resource for faster system response and recovery.

    Questions you should be asking