With constant news reports about the threat climate change poses to a livable future, you might be wondering what you can do to join the fight against climate change. Using less energy or buying an electric car are options we’re all familiar with to reduce your impact on the planet, but one idea you might not have considered could have a much larger effect: Getting your community on a microgrid.
A microgrid, generally speaking, is an area that’s removed itself from the traditional power grid and is powered solely using renewable energy. That could mean a few houses, a whole neighborhood or maybe even a town.
A microgrid can stand on its own (“behind the meter”) or can be connected to the larger grid (“in front of the meter”) but have the capability of keeping electricity flowing in the case of a power outage.
The Growth of Microgrids
Microgrids are no longer the new kids on the block. Hospitals, military bases, airports, schools, correctional facilities, fire stations, and grocery store chains have frequently installed microgrids to reduce their vulnerability to power outages.
While earlier microgrids were supported by fossil fuels however now the percentage is expected to decline as more organizations prioritize renewable energy.
Renewable energy is capturing the market share from fossil fuels and nuclear energy at an unprecedented rate. The world installed more renewable energy over the past few years than nuclear and fossil fuels combined, disrupting the energy sector and the business case for conventional energy models.
Towns like Gonzales, California and Panton, Vermont are starting their own microgrids. Instead of using energy that may be generated through burning fossil fuels, microgrids derive their power from solar panels, wind power and other renewable energy sources.
Daniel Kammen, a distinguished professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley, says microgrids are becoming a lot more popular in the U.S.
“We used to think that microgrids were off-grid, rural areas, but increasingly they’re urban areas, cities. Solar is certainly the most common just because it’s so easy. With solar and batteries, you can do basically everything a utility does.”
Another benefit of microgrids is they can help protect communities from blackouts that the central power grid may experience from time to time. We’ve seen states like California and Texas deal with major blackouts due to things like wildfires and extreme temperatures, so isolating your community could help prevent your home from losing power for extended periods of time.
The ultimate truth is that renewable energy has gotten a lot cheaper over the past decade or so, which means it’s more affordable than ever to get your community on a microgrid. The cost of solar power, for instance, has decreased by over 80 percent since 2010. If you want to get your community on a microgrid, you can simply contact a solar energy contractor like Staten Solar to get things set up.
Why choose one (fossil fuels/coal = reliable =full of pollution ≠ renewable) when you can get both (solar/wind/green fuel = renewable = reliable = pollution-free).
If you’re looking to get more involved in the climate fight, it might be time to start talking to your neighbors and yourself about generating your own power. Your requirement and our ability can lead to energy independence to your home and your business as well. Why wait. Let’s be in touch. Dial (408) 780-2889 or fill this short form here and the rest is on us.