There are many different systems that can be used to generate electricity, but a microgrid system is one of the most efficient and popular options.

As technology continually improves they are becoming smarter, more reliable, and more efficient.

Let’s take a look at what they are along with some examples.

What Is A Microgrid System?

A microgrid is a tiny-scale power grid that may operate independently or in collaboration with other smaller power grids. Distributed, dispersed, decentralized, district and embedded energy production are all terms used to describe the use of microgrids.

A microgrid system is designed to provide power to a specific area, usually a campus or community, and can be disconnected from the main grid to operate autonomously.

A microgrid can generate its own electricity through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, or by using combined heat and power (CHP) technology.

Microgrid examples

  • Remote
  • Grid-connected
  • Networked

Remote microgrid

Remote microgrids, sometimes known as “off-grid microgrids,” are physically separated from the utility grid. They’re utilized in locations where it’s not feasible or desirable to connect to the utility grid.

Off-grid microgrids are typically used in remote communities, military bases, or other locations where a reliable power supply is critical.

Grid-connected microgrid

Grid microgrids are microgrids that are connected to the utility grid via a switching mechanism at the point of common connection (PCC) may disconnect and reconnect as needed.

This type of microgrid is often used by utilities as a way to provide backup power to the grid, or by businesses as a way to lower their energy costs.

A grid-connected microgrid can sell excess electricity back to the utility grid when power demand is low, and draw power from the grid when needed.

Networked microgrid

A networked microgrid is a system of two or more interconnected microgrids that are able to share electricity and other resources. They are interconnected at the physical layer through the use of power lines, and at the virtual layer through the use of control systems.

Networked microgrids are often used to improve the reliability of the power grid, or to provide backup power in case of a grid outage.

Related: Islanding (WHAT IS IT AND HOW TO PROTECT FROM IT)

How Does It Work?

A microgrid is a small electricity grid that connects to the main network at a common connection point and maintains voltage stability unless there is an issue on the grid or another reason to disconnect it.

A switch may automatically or manually disconnect the microgrid, functioning as an island until reconnected.

A microgrid can use any type of energy generation, but most commonly uses renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Energy storage is also used in microgrids to even out the load and provide power when renewable energy sources are not available.

A microgrid is defined by three key characteristics:

  • A microgrid is local
  • A microgrid is independent
  • A microgrid is intelligent

A microgrid is local

This is a form of local power, which means it generates energy for people in the area.

Microgrids are different from traditional centralized grids like those we’ve used for the last century.

Long-distance transmission and distribution lines transport electricity from generating stations to customers on central grids.

A microgrid is independent

Microgrids are a type of distributed energy system in which the main grid does not have to be involved.

Its name implies that it can exist independently of the main grid, as it is capable of cutting off from it during a storm or other calamity that causes a power outage.

Because of its enormous size and interconnectedness, the American central grid is often prone to failures.

A microgrid is intelligent

The term “intelligent microgrid” refers to a microgrid – particularly sophisticated ones that are smart.

The microgrid controller, the system’s brain, masters the generators, batteries, and local building energy systems with a high degree of sophistication.

The controller manages many resources to fulfill the needs of the microgrid’s customers.

What a Microgrid is Not

A microgrid is not the same thing as a distributed energy system (DES) that includes rooftop solar panels.

The term “microgrid” is sometimes used to describe a basic distributed energy system, such as rooftop solar panels.

The most significant distinction is that while a microgrid will keep the electricity flowing when the main grid goes down, a solar panel array won’t.

What Is Hybrid Microgrid?

Hybrid microgrid systems (HMGS) are comprised of several interconnected distributed resources with electronically-controlled methods that may operate in either islanded or grid-connected modes.

The key advantage of hybrid microgrid systems is that they provide higher reliability, stability, and performance as compared to the existing microgrid or grid-alone system.

How Much Energy Does A Microgrid Produce?

Microgrids are typically much smaller in size, ranging from 100 kW to multiple MW.

They might be built to serve a few houses or an entire community and can range in size from 100 kW to many MW.

The amount of energy a microgrid produces depends on the size and capacity of the system.

What Is A Microgrid Controller?

A microgrid controller is the system’s brain, managing the generators, batteries, and local building energy systems with a high degree of sophistication.

The controller manages many resources to fulfill the needs of the microgrid’s customers.

What Is The Difference Between Microgrid And Smart Grid

The term local microgrid refers to a small-scale distributed generation rather than a centralized generation and centralized control, which can be provided by e.g. renewable energy sources.

Smart grids are networks that are managed using cutting-edge technology such as telecommunications infrastructure.

The main difference between a microgrid and a smart grid is that a microgrid is designed to work independently from the main grid, while a smart grid is an upgrade to the main grid that uses digital technology to improve efficiency, reliability, and flexibility.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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