A few weeks ago, thousands of homes and businesses lost power. Across northern California, the lights went out, production stopped, and perishables started to rot. No one called the power company; they were the ones that flipped the switch.
The trial and errors of PG&E are the perfect case study on how microgrids are needed. In some sense, failures of regional power suppliers and the outrages and monetary loses incurred by consumers are motivating factors in taking back control. Are microgrids on the horizon?
Frankly, they’ve been a long time coming. A microgrid essentially comprises three parts. For it to function, a microgrid relies on a source of energy, a way to store that energy, and a smart system to make sure so much (or little) as a watt isn’t wasted. No matter the scale, those three pieces need to be in place for a company or community to unplug for the larger electrical grid. There is a lot of progress in all three areas; solar, wind, geothermal and other renewables are getting more efficient by the minute, while the storage capacity of batteries is opening up doors for industrial applications on even the largest of scales.
It’s progress that’s largely due to a fall in prices. Over the past nine years, the price of renewable energy has, on average, fallen by 85%, and that’s led to even more investment and more implementation. Investing in these microgrids could be money very well spent; experts estimate that the power outages in northern California have resulted in roughly $1.5 trillion in lost economic output.
Bringing more firms “offline” is easier than you think Federal, state, and even private initiatives are supporting companies that are piecing together their microgrid futures. From leasing materials to dynamic financing programs, plus constantly falling prices on capital itself, means that if you’re looking at microgrids, odds are there are a lot of options to make it happen. That’s another value proposition to add to total control of your energy future, plus lower operating costs long-term.
Ready to get started? We’re already working on microgrids across the country. Let us help you get rolling in 2020!