Early Adopters of Microgrid Technology: African Telecommunications Companies Use Renewable Energy to Power Cell Towers and Industry Growth

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.

PG&E and BoxPower Mitigate Wildfire Risk with Remote Hybrid Power Systems

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.

Ace Natural, New York: Organic Food Wholesaler Builds Microgrid to Boost Resilience and Cut Utility Bills

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:

Electric Pressure Cookers and Microgrids Provide Hope in Solving the Intractable Global Problem of Biomass Cooking

Electric cooking training in a Tanzanian village Photo: Ansila Kweka

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 Secures $10 million from the Green Climate Fund to build 22 microgrids in Haiti

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:

When Microgrids Mean Hope: Powering a Refugee Settlement in Shimelba, Ethiopia

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 Uses HOMER Pro to Achieve Grid Independence and Work Towards 100% Renewable Status

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:

Kibera microgrid helps bring education, clean laundry and employment to Nairobi’s urban poor

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:

Container Microgrids: Lowering Costs Through Modular Design and Streamlined Engineering

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: