Will Utility Partnerships in Minigrid Projects Help Overcome Electrification Barriers in Uganda?

In Uganda, numerous challenges stand in the way of providing reliable electricity. But a pilot minigrid project aims to help overcome the roadblocks. Most utilities are government owned and lose money. In fact, only two utilities of the 39 in sub-Saharan Africa yield a positive cash flow, and they are privately owned, said Sumaya Mahomed, … [Read more...]

Serendipity — and Generous Donors — Helped the Footprint Project Bring Solar to Desperate Texans

It was fortuitous that Oscar Ruiz arrived in Texas on February 19. He had originally intended the trip for another reason, but he quickly became the point person for an on-the-ground mission to build emergency clean energy systems for desperate Texans. Millions had lost power and water as a result of an historic deep freeze. Ruiz is the … [Read more...]

Built With Frugal Innovation, Solar Microgrids Improve Medical Care in the Himalayas

In remote villages in the Himalayas, medical centers often lack critical medical equipment, refrigerators for vaccines and dependable electricity for light and other essentials. But Paras Loomba intends to change that, bringing solar microgrids to medical centers, which will allow for vaccine storage, baby warmers, ventilators and other items that … [Read more...]

Microgrid Tariff Proposed by Hawaiian Electric Faces Industry Criticism

A microgrid tariff proposed by Hawaiian Electric (HECO) is receiving mixed reviews as the state attempts to break new ground in creating microgrid compensation. Now before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the utility proposed the tariff in the first phase of a regulatory effort to fulfill a microgrid law (Act 200) signed in July … [Read more...]

Updated: What Worked and What Didn’t at Six School Microgrids in California

Salinas, California set out out to build six school microgrids two years ago as models for others. Today the project offers what schools do best — lessons — but not only about its successes. The project developers are talking about their challenges, an all too uncommon, but valuable gift to a rapidly growing industry that needs to know what can … [Read more...]

Alaska, Model of Microgrid Development, Delivers Resiliency in Cold, Remote Conditions

Alaska’s challenges — cold weather and the high cost of delivered energy — are part of the reason the state is a model of innovative microgrid development, with the largest number of microgrids in the US, at 122. “This innovation flows from both the challenges associated with providing reliable electricity without the benefit of traditional … [Read more...]

Storage is the Boss for Utility-Scale Microgrid Yielding 70% Renewables

A utility-scale microgrid that uses energy storage has slashed the use of diesel fuel and allowed for up to 70 percent renewables to serve a Portuguese Island, Graciosa. The microgrid is made up of a 6-MW, 3.5-MWh battery system from Switzerland-based Leclanché, about 1.5 MW of wind energy, 3 MW of solar and an existing diesel system that … [Read more...]

Making Microgrids as Simple to Deploy & Finance as Rooftop Solar

Scale Microgrid Solutions is on a mission to make sophisticated microgrids as easy to deploy and finance as rooftop solar, said Timothy Hade, microgrid specialist for the company. “Our thesis is that at scale, microgrids have all sorts of great technical aspects that can make our total energy system cleaner, cheaper and more reliable. But … [Read more...]

A Surprise to Analysts: Less CHP in Microgrids, More Solar

Combined heat and power (CHP) provides year-round baseload energy in microgrids — something renewable resources don’t do. Yet solar PV now overshadows CHP in planned microgrid projects, according to a new microgrid database by ICF. “We see a lot of installed CHP systems in operating microgrids; it’s the largest technology in terms of capacity,” … [Read more...]

Let’s Count the Many Ways Microgrids Serve the Greater Good

If you think of microgrids as mere backup power, think again. That was the message from panelists at Microgrid 2018 who described how microgrids serve the greater good in the U.S and abroad. Their projects include electrifying parts of Somalia, helping prevent brain drain in Africa and India, cost-effectively solving a utility’s peak … [Read more...]