Microgrids have proven to be crucial for powering cell towers in Africa, where mobile phone technology leapfrogged over landlines in the past few decades. Ugandan engineer Nelson Tashobya explains how he has used HOMER Pro to design renewably-powered microgrids that save on diesel fuel costs and provide reliable power in remote locations.
The city of Fort Collins, Colorado has deployed a new microgrid on a community center. It will provide resilience in emergencies, aid in carbon reduction and provide grid services to the municipal utility.
The Bauhaus-style Hotel Marcel is a historic architectural landmark in New Haven, Connecticut. Architect Bruce Becker remodeled the building, which had stood empty for two decades, turning it into highly efficient, top-rated Connecticut hotel and adding a microgrid modeled using HOMER Grid.
Students at the Chambala school in Malawi now have electricity to power lights and electronics. Installed by Engineers Without Borders, Germany, the project also includes education about renewable energy.
A off-grid marble factory in Namibia — modeled with UL Solutions HOMER® Pro — is costing its owners about half of what they would pay for electricity from the grid. As an added benefit, the renewable energy microgrid is more reliable than grid power.
The Oregon National Guard is preparing for a major earthquake and tsunami, expected to strike the Pacific Northwest within the next 50 years. A microgrid operating at the Guard’s Nesmith Readiness Center in Dallas will provide resilience and serve as a blueprint for upgrading other facilities.
A remote microgrid is successfully powering Briceburg, California, a small community in a high-risk wildfire region. Built by BoxPower using HOMER software, the hybrid power system is part of PG&E’s remote grid program.
Many U.S. cities are implementing Resilience Hubs to provide emergency services during extreme weather events and power outages. The city of Detroit, Michigan is building a network of hubs to help residents of neighborhoods that are vulnerable to flooding.
The town of Shungnak, Alaska – north of the Arctic Circle – is cutting energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions with a new microgrid. Shungnak is gradually replacing diesel generation with a hybrid power system that includes solar and energy storage.
In a “win-win” arrangement, microgrid developer PowerGen is building an “under the grid” minigrid for Toto, Nigeria. It will supply renewable electric power during the day, while the utility powers the town at night.
A microgrid on Harbledown Island in British Columbia is reducing generator noise and air pollution as it delivers lower-cost energy to a Canadian native community. Modeled using UL’s HOMER Pro, it is continuing to perform well after a year of operation:
The Cape Cod, Massachusetts town of Yarmouth is building the state’s first municipal clean energy resilience microgrid. It will power an emergency operations center in a firehouse during extreme weather events.
A Mali gold mine is now powering operations with a HOMER-modeled microgrid that combines solar and batteries with an existing thermal power plant. The 30 MW solar plant will help cut costs and hedge against future oil price increases.
Rather than rebuild distribution lines damaged by fire, PG&E is working with BoxPower to install a renewables-based microgrid to provide clean, resilient power for customers in Briceburg, California. The solar + storage system is the first of 20 proposed for development through PG&E’s new Remote Grid Initiative.
A hybrid energy system at a manufacturing facility not only helps reduce energy costs and emissions, but also has far-reaching carbon reduction benefits, and positions Costa Rica as a leader in the fight against climate change.
Rapid growth of the electric vehicle market means that EV charging infrastructure will have to grow to meet passenger needs. One California company – ChargeNet – is preparing for the future with a new kind of convenience stop that combines charging and restaurants.
An organic food distributor in the metro New York area recently installed a microgrid – designed by HOMER Grid – to improve their bottom line along with their resiliency. Ace Natural is saving more than half their utility costs by using renewable energy, while batteries and a generator powered by biodiesel ensure continuous operations if there’s a power outage:
Indoor air pollution, mostly caused by cooking with wood and charcoal, causes millions of deaths each year in developing countries, mostly to women. Biomass cooking also depletes forests and adds to global warming. Now the combination of high efficiency electric pressure cookers (EPCs) powered by renewable energy mini-grids, are being tested in East Africa. The hope is that electric cooking can save lives as well as ecosystems:
EarthSpark International, a nonprofit focused on bringing energy access to Haiti’s rural poor, has just received $10 million dollars from the UN Green Climate Fund. EarthSpark will use the money to continue and expand its efforts to build high-quality microgrids that deliver renewable electricity to over 20 towns without any access to power. Renewable electricity will help consumers save more than 50 percent of what they currently spend on kerosene, charcoal and diesel fuel:
One of the biggest microgrids on Colorado’s Western Slope powers a remote vacation ranch. Alternative Power Enterprises designed and built the project. Learn about how the design decisions that were made are saving money and increasing resiliency:
In the wildest reaches of Patagonia, distributed energy experts are building microgrids that exploit the abundant low head hydro resources in the region. These systems are providing energy for amenities in some of the most magnificent new parks in the world:
Plans are underway to build a microgrid for every one of 21 schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Since the city is vulnerable to power outages from forest fires, earthquakes, heavy rains and mudslides, local officials want a more resilient power system. The Clean Coalition is leading the microgrid effort:
A microgrid, modeled and designed with HOMER Pro, is bringing power to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Most of the 6,000 refugees in the Shimelba camp come from Eritrea, where they have fled multiple crimes against humanity. Living in a refugee camp is an enormous hardship, but now the microgrid is supporting improved commerce, construction, agriculture, and most importantly, hope:
Maui Brewing Company, Hawaii’s largest craft brewery, is achieving grid independence and working towards 100% renewable operation with a new microgrid that was modeled using HOMER Pro. Featuring a massive PV array (close to a MW), Tesla batteries and Cummins generators that run on biodiesel, the microgrid should save $300,000 per year, cutting the company’s energy costs in half:
In the middle of the Kibera, a large shantytown outside of Nairobi, a mirorgrid is powering a a new community center that provides clean water, showers, laundry facilities, internet service and classrooms for people who live in the surrounding neighborhood. It is also providing newfound hope and job training for the residents, according to Serena Patel, an Energy engineering student at the University of California at Berkeley is working on the microgrid. Serena will be presenting her findings at the HOMER International Microgrid Conference October 7-9 in Cambridge, MA. Learn more:
In the ongoing effort to lower the cost of microgrid deployment, one concept that continues to evolve is that of the modular microgrid, best expressed in a system that can fit inside a single shipping container. It’s not a new idea. What is relatively new is a complete, stand-alone hybrid renewable energy system, such as the ones designed by BoxPower and Arizona State University:
With its massive land area, thinly scattered population and resource-based economy, Western Australia has always been challenged to maintain an electric grid that covers long distances under harsh environmental conditions. Utilities are discovering that hybrid renewable microgrids can be cheaper than the upkeep on such a sprawling electrical empire, and the state’s government is listening:
A University of Pittsburgh economist who specializes in analyzing the financial risk of climate impacts is working on calculating the value of microgrids to help provide greater resilience in cities. She’s using spacial techniques to determine where microgrids should be located to provide maximum service, and she’s using HOMER Pro calculate a cost-benefit analysis: