Solar energy covers the major part of renewable energy, and the list of advantages is never-ending. In today’s blog, we will be talking about a part of the solar world that is adding a good amount of advantages to the overall system, that is“ solar microgrid”.
The term solar microgrid can be broken into two parts solar and
microgrid for better understanding, let’s dig deep into
what is microgrid?
The microgrid is basically a smaller version of what the utility power system is, just think about if the power goes away, and you want to have safe, reliable, and more efficient power than what? In this scenario, a microgrid comes into the picture. Most places already do have assets like solar, utility, generator, storage, etc. A microgrid combines all of those systems together with the brains to make it work efficiently, reliably, and safely.
Now when we combine both solar and microgrid we get solar microgrid, let’s understand the whole term now.
What is a solar microgrid?
A solar microgrid has the ability to operate independently of the central grid. Both solar energy and solar microgrids are great for the environment, as they both generate energy using solar power. When a microgrid is able to remove itself from the main grid is called “islanding”. Their ability to function in “island mode” using sensors, controllers and active management software ensures that the power supply is maintained independently of the main grid even in the event of disruptions. A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island-mode. This helps in preventing damage to the grid in case of any abnormality. Adding benefits during natural disasters such as wildfires or hurricanes, kind of high risk. if the stable utility grid is not available, it works as the
off-grid solar system. The main goal of using the solar microgrid is to minimize the usage of non-renewable energy sources.
Now you know what is microgrid, let’s jump into the part of the system which helps the system to control everything.
Smart control system
In a microgrid, there is a system called a smart control system. This smart control system can also be called the brain of the solar microgrid. Its work is to systematically gather all useful information of the network system and automatically send commands to each part of the system. The outcome of this leads to a healthy, efficient, and reliable system. The microgrid will enable us to shift from central power generation to local flexible, reliable forms of sustainable power energy.
But where to use Microgrid? Keep reading to know more about its components, types, advantages, disadvantages.
The demand for microgrids is increasing in typically the remote areas where the access to power utility is not yet available continuously, places like remote villages, off-grid islands, industrial projects, places where disasters are prone to happen more, etc.
In recent times urban places are also showing more interest in microgrids, like power hospitals, university campuses, data centers, etc. it can be safely be said that the future held a good scope for microgrids in urban and rural areas.
The next big question is “What are the components of microgrid”?
In terms of solar, all components are the same as the solar system, but the additions are as follows.
- Distributed Generating Units.
- Load Centers.
- Distribution network.
- Control Unit(s)
- Electric Power Storage
Type of microgrid system
Generally, the microgrid can be classified into two categories
off-grid and grid-connected Off-grid
Off-grid microgrids are not directly connected to a grid and are of great help in the area where there is no access to a wide-area electrical grid but the significant need for electricity. Mostly off-grid microgrid is use
in island and remote areas On-gird
On-grid microgrids are directly connected to a grid. Urban people do this to avoid power outages, increasing reliability, Hospitals, airports, university campuses and large industrial plants all utilize microgrid components to effectively integrate backup power generation into their electrical system.
- Reduces the electricity bills.
- Carbon footprints will be reduced using solar microgrids.
- The usage of generators is reduced and the level of CO2 emissions is also lowered down which helps in environmentally sustainable.
- The system improves and becomes more efficient.
- It can function independently of the utility system in case there is a power outage in the area.
- It reduces the energy demand from the existing utility grid
- Solar Microgrid allows the storage of excess solar energy to battery banks. The energy stored can then be used during the night or even on cloudy days.
- A solar microgrid requires regular maintenance of solar inverters and battery systems.
- It requires monitoring of the frequency and voltage levels of the whole system to be able to function effectively.
- The cost of battery systems is currently quite high.
- Protection of the system is hard
- The complexity of the entire solar microgrid increases the more you add another type of load or energy source.