A recent webinar on Renewable Energy World was conducted by several experts. The focus of the webinar is about the U.S. landscape for solar photovoltaic microgrids as well as energy storage. REC Solar is one of the participants in the said webinar.
There were three webinar speakers who lent their theories, knowledge and expertise on the subject.
One of the speakers is Peter H. Asmus, a leading expert on microgrids and virtual power plants in the world. He is also the Principal Research Analyst at Navigant Research as well as the author of four books focusing on energy and environmental issues.
Peter Asmus discussed the growing demand for these solar power systems. He began the webinar by defining what microgrids are and their advantages. Among the advantages, according to Peter, is their ability to ‘island’ at times when blackouts or natural disasters occur. He obviously meant being able to provide energy without the help of the grid.
They are also more economically advantageous, according to Peter, in isolated areas like Puerto Rico and Hawaii. These countries won’t need to import fossil fuels if they have these facilities that they can depend on for energy needs.
He also discussed the global energy situation where there is a rapid change and movement towards renewable energy. Peter said that many states are now implementing incentives and mandates that increase the competitive ability of solar with fossil fuels.
Another webinar speaker, Ben Peters REC Solar Director of Solar Finance and Policy discussed the potential values of these solar facilities. He was referring to systems that can be integrated with research centres, universities, and military bases.
He also discussed the ideal economic and physical conditions for the establishment and operation of an interconnected microgrid. Ben said with the right state incentives, local businesses and landowners might benefit if they will establish a microgrid in their community. They can profit by simply selling electricity from grid storage and solar plants to the local utility company. He termed this scenario “front of the meter” business model.
The speaker from REC Solar also spoke about the “behind the meter” business scenario where the solar microgrid is installed on site and supply electricity to the consumers, reducing their utility demand and energy costs, while serving as a backup power in case of power outage from the grid.
The third webinar speaker, John Wood, Ecoult CEO discussed the storage component of solar microgrids. John is very much qualified to talk on the subject since his company Ecoult is an energy storage solution company.
He presented the details of solar storage applications and the advantages of storage in tandem with fuel-based microgrids and renewables, particularly for very remote applications or ‘islanding’.
John also highlighted storage as the ideal solution for grid variability, particularly for solar shifting and wind smoothing. He said this will help balance the grid from renewable sources which can surge and vary by the minute.
He also discussed the method on how to add battery storage to existing diesel microgrids for the purpose of increasing efficiency, reducing emissions, and fuel costs.