How Do Microgrids Work? | EnergyLink

How do Microgrids Work?

Microgrids are a local energy grid with control capability, which is the ability to operate autonomously and disconnect from the grid. While historically microgrids have been powered by fossil fuels, more businesses and organizations are favoring renewable energy as a power source to increase sustainability and lower their carbon footprints.

Read What is a Microgrid?

How do microgrids work?

In general, microgrids operate while connected to a local grid. The grid connects residences, businesses and other local buildings to central power sources and powers appliances, electronics and heating & cooling units. The connection amongst these different systems leaves the entire grid vulnerable when one part needs a repair. Microgrids don’t have this problem, as they can operate autonomously. This makes them really helpful during emergency situations like storms or power outages.

Read Do You Have a Backup for Emergencies?

Microgrids can be disconnected from the grid with a switch. Microgrid systems include power generation units, such as renewable energy technologies like solar panels and wind turbines, and/or heating & cooling units like CHP. They can also include energy storage systems like batteries. Microgrids are managed by an intelligent central controller that requires no human intervention. See the graphic below for a visual representation of a microgrid system and the technologies it connects.

microgrids work

Microgrid electricity utilizes distributed generation. In other words, the power generation units that microgrids use are located on-site. This minimizes losses and requires less generation than far away energy demand would.

Each microgrid is unique with different customers, energy technologies, functions and loads. They can serve anywhere from a single building or an entire community and can range in size from 100 kW to multiple MW. Some microgrids are even created with the purpose of managing electricity demand supporting the grid. They do this by transacting from a single node to export excess electricity or importing imbalances from the larger local grid.

Want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter by clicking the button below. Keep an eye out for our weekly blog series focused on microgrid technology. 

If you are looking to become carbon neutral and utilize renewable technologies such as microgrids, consider partnering with EnergyLink. Our team of experts will be your guide throughout the design, build and fund stages of your next renewable or energy efficiency project. Click here to get started. If you would like to speak with a team member directly, dial (866) 218-0380.

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