Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.

Designing Microgrids for the Solomon Islands

There is a lot of interest in the idea of 100% renewable energy both from a political and technical perspective. To understand some of the issues surrounding this goal it is useful to look at smaller systems where high penetrations of renewables are starting to become more common.  It may be that 100% renewable energy is more reasonable goal for a small microgrid, rather than on a large national or regional grid. At […]

HOMER Grid “Demand Charge Reducer” for C & I Electricity Customers

The continuing decline in prices for energy storage and solar is creating huge opportunities for large electricity consumers. The need to reduce utility demand charges is a key driver of investments in solar-plus-storage systems. These systems allow grid-connected commercial and industrial (C&I) electric customers to shift to their own generation when they need more electricity, avoiding spikes in demand that translate to costly charges.

New HOMER® Pro Release Features Integration with Popular Solar PV Design Tools

HelioScope Screen Shot

The latest release of HOMERⓇ Pro – version 3.11 – is now integrated with two powerful tools for designing PV systems, HelioScope and PVsyst. This development is exciting to me for several reasons: For the distributed energy marketplace to really take off, we need many more people who are comfortable with designing distributed power systems that incorporate hybrid renewable energy components. And that means practical, user-friendly design tools. This development advances what I […]

How You Can Help Puerto Rico Rebuild Following Hurricane Maria

Concrete power line poles lie on a highway after Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria.

Many of you in the microgrid industry have asked me what we can do to help Puerto Ricans get the lights back on quickly, and cleanly. Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria wiped out 100% of the ailing power grid, 70% of Puerto Ricans still do not have electricity, and many expect it will take a full year to restore the whole island. We all know that solar + storage microgrids can be installed […]

Combined Dispatch Algorithm “Two-for-one Deal” Accurately Models Microgrid Controller

combined dispatch algorithm

By Cycle Charging during periods of low net load, the Combined Dispatch algorithm helps avoid using a diesel generator at low loads. By Load Following during periods of high net load, the algorithm maximizes the use of available renewable energy. Due to this flexibility of being able to account for both high and low loads, the Combined Dispatch algorithm is a better option than choosing between Load Following or Cycle Charging (and potentially making the wrong choice). It is also a better option than running both strategies by default, which doubles the processing time. On top of that, we’ve seen that Combined Dispatch can perform as well, if not better than, either Load Following or Cycle Charging.

Lessons from the Off-grid World: Resilient Distributed Energy Win-Win for Consumers, Utilities

distributed energy

The future of energy starts with a fundamental transition from a centralized structure dependent on fossil generation to a distributed structure relying mostly on renewable generation. This transition means a large number of small projects instead of a small number of large projects. And you, HOMER users, are the vanguard of this transition.

To ‘fuel’ this future, the grid-connected world can learn a lot of lessons from international (and Alaskan) experience with off-grid and isolated systems, which were the topics of many of the sessions held at HIMC2017. I’m going to talk about 6 such lessons.

With Less than a Week till HIMC2017, Here’s a Conference Preview!

microgrid conference 2017

I’m just back from the incredible experience of participating in Solar Power International (we’ll write more about that soon) and can hardly believe it’s already time for our own premier gathering of microgrid industry leaders. The 5th Annual HOMER International Microgrid Conference (HIMC2017) is less than a week away, and I’m really excited about our agenda and the impact of taking part in such an inspiring and educational experience. I hope you’re reading […]

Have it Your Way: The HOMER SaaS API

homer saas api

I launched this “From the Founder” column last month and used it to go back to HOMER’s roots as a mechanism to serve the energy access world. This month, I want to continue the conversation about how to rapidly and efficiently help millions of people understand how distributed power systems work — at the opposite end of the spectrum. Specifically, I’m referring to companies and organizations that are serious about being competitive in […]

A New HOMER to Help Millions Learn About Microgrids

educate millions about microgrids

HOMER Energy CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal discusses how to educate millions about microgrids. The advent of electricity created disruptive change in the world. Now, the world of electric power is about to undergo a massively disruptive change itself. The rapidly declining cost of solar and batteries is ushering in a new era of clean, reliable, local electricity generation, and an end to the era of ever-bigger power plants and large transmission lines. These […]

Peter Lilienthal: Support Repair of Hurricane Matthew-damaged Haitian Microgrid

Join Us in Helping Hurrican Matthew-damaged Haitian Microgrid Repair Efforts When Hurricane Matthew came ashore in Haiti, the center of its landfall was Les Anglais, the location of a leading-edge microgrid developed by nonprofit EarthSpark International. Although almost every building in the town was destroyed, the microgrid only needs relatively minor repair to start assisting with the relief effort. You can help, while giving yourself the gift of microgrid networking and education from some […]