Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.

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 […]

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.

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 […]

Renewable Energy for Security: Electricity and the Boko Haram Kidnapping

It’s 10 PM. The lights in your village of Chibok, in a remote corner of Nigeria, went out for the night half an hour before. Blackness and quiet cover the land, and you drift off to sleep in your bed in the girls’ dormitory. Suddenly, you are startled awake by footsteps and loud voices – men’s voices – telling you that the village is under attack, and that they are soldiers here to […]

Batteries for Your PV System: How Much Do You need?

With Tesla’s big stationary storage announcement last week, much attention was paid to how battery prices have fallen faster than expected. The $350 per kWh price for the 10 kWh battery was ahead of most analysts’ forecasts. Not surprisingly, the emphasis has been on using those batteries—at least initially—for backup power and demand charge reductions, but as SolarCity CTO Peter Rive recently noted, they’ll also soon be used for grid-connected solar customers. That […]

Microgrid Categories for Quality Standards, Training, and Capacity Building

One of the great challenges facing the growing microgrid market is the wide range of applications, climates, cultures, resources, and costs associated with a highly dispersed market. The HOMER® microgrid optimization software is a useful tool for determining which particular technology combination and configuration may be economical and effective for microgrid projects of all types and sizes. We suggest there are currently four microgrid categories into which most systems can fit and which […]

Central Solar Parks versus Microgrids: Cost Versus Security and Reliability

One of the biggest debates in today’s “energy society” relates to grid-scale renewable projects versus distributed generation, in particular the role of rooftop residential solar systems. Proponents of large centralized solar parks, such as the recently announced Xcel project in Pueblo, Colorado, point out, very correctly, that economies of scale allow those projects to produce power at about half the cost (excluding incentives) of residential rooftop projects. The typical counter argument, that distributed […]