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Just found this amazing article on New Atlas. It concerns a small island being powered almost exclusively by a micro-grid made up of solar panels and Tesla batteries. The batteries can be fully charged in 7 hours and can keep the grid running for 3 days without any….
25 February 2015
By Santiago Miret
While developed countries have enjoyed access to reliable electricity for nearly a century, energy access across the world remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. Globally, over 1 billion people still live without access to electricity today, putting them at a major developmental disadvantage. It has been shown that access to energy stimulates economic activity in a virtuous cycles: communities with power enable children to study during the night hours with electrical lights, community can charge cell phones to stimulate their business activities, and households can in many cases maintain appliances that raise their standard of living. Recently, the idea of a microgrid, a self-sufficient energy system that can operate independently from the larger grid has been receiving more and more attention due to its capability to address energy access challenges, especially in remote rural regions where grid development can be both economically and technically challenging. Microgrids have also gained popularity in developed nations, as they allow for greater independence from the larger electricity grid which can lead to more reliable energy infrastructure for the microgrid user.
Schematic Of A Microgrid with Utility Interconnection – Source: Microgrid Institute
These types of systems are sometimes also referred to as distributed generation systems, as some of them cannot operate as an “island” grid on their own. The scale of energy access challenges immense, extending from remote rural areas to the urban poor to name a few, and so are the complexities and intricacies of the various challenges. Microgrids provide an additional tool to help address the global energy access challenge and create more secure and sustainable energy infrastructures across the world. This tool, however, has to be completed with smart energy policies, as well as innovative business models and financing schemes to be utilized in an effective manner.
Even though a microgrid may take many shape and forms depending on its purpose and economic environment, the technical framework for many microgrid systems often remains fairly consistent. Generally speaking, four primary, five if it includes a utility connection, components are needed to build a functioning microgrid: