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 […]
Extreme weather events, environmental concerns, and energy economics are bringing microgrids into public discourse in the grid-connected world. The energy landscape is suddenly changing very quickly, and microgrids are a big part of that change. The entire world — every corner of it — is finally looking at the potential for microgrids to fill many needs. But what is a microgrid? A microgrid can be defined as an independent power network that uses […]
Ice Cream, Appliances, and Autonomy: Rural Electrification Project Lights West Bank Village (Read about a tragic update followed by positive outcome for Jubbet a-Dhib microgrid in updates below original post, which was first published April 28, 2017) On a recent trip to Palestine, I had the opportunity to meet with a long-time HOMER Energy customer, Comet-ME, an Israeli-Palestinian NGO bringing off-grid solar power to villages in “Area C” of the Occupied West Bank. […]
Puerto Rico has a very long and politicized electrical grid history, and politics will play a big role in how the island territory will recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, a category 4 storm that hit the island on September 20, 2017. Puerto Rico, barely recovering from Hurricane Irma, was devastated by Maria, a storm so large and so direct that its eye alone literally covered the entire island. The storm destroyed more than three-fourths of the island’s power infrastructure, leaving Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents without power. Current estimates are that most of the country won’t be back on-grid for months.
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.
Our out-of-date fossil-fuel-based infrastructure is failing a world where climate change is bringing more frequent, more extreme, more intense weather to the planet. And the lesson, if we are smart enough to learn it, is that as long as we’re dependent on fossil fuels, these weather events and other related disasters will wreak long-lasting havoc on human lives, the economy, and on the environment.
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 […]
I recently had an opportunity to visit the on-site training campus of Solar Energy International (SEI), located in Paonia, Colorado, a quaint town of 1500 people in western Colorado. I was so impressed with SEI’s mostly outdoor training center, in a spectacularly beautiful location, that I wanted to share it with you. HOMER Energy’s focus for the next month is to highlight the urgent need for millions of people to understand how small-scale, […]
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 […]
Traditional fmicrogrid crowdfundingunding methods often make it difficult to raise capital for microgrid projects, especially those created to specifically for populations with limited means. Funding from NGOs or government agencies is difficult to secure. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, raises capital through the collective effort of individual small investors, making microgrid and other critical projects a reality all over the world — in fact, the World Bank predicts crowdfunding in the developing world will exceed US$96 billion per year within the next 10 years.