Founder’s Message – January 2022

Dear Readers,

There are many reasons microgrids are important. Most notably microgrids provide a resilient power supply and enable energy providers to use renewables at high penetrations and bypass some of the problems inherent in a centralized and highly regulated utility sector.

But one of the most exciting aspects of microgrids is their role as a platform for innovation.  Some of the most promising innovations in electric power have come from microgrids, such as the use of battery storage, aggressive load management, prepay metering and remote monitoring.

In this newsletter we highlight another interesting innovation: the use of low voltage direct current (DC) distribution or “mesh grids.” DC mesh grids don’t replace traditional AC distribution when substantial amounts of power are required. Rather, they close the access gap for the 700 million people without power. When small home systems are connected to each other using low-cost DC wiring a much greater percentage of the available power is used.  This DC mesh grid approach provides an intermediate solution between individual solar home systems and traditional grids and can solve the “last mile” problem that is holding back energy access.

Sincerely,
Dr. Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.
Global Microgrid Lead, UL Renewables
Founder, HOMER Energy by UL

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