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What is a microgrid?

A microgrid is a self-contained electrical network that allows you to generate your own electricity on-site and use it when you need it most. A microgrid is thus a type of distributed energy resource. You can operate microgrids while connected to the utility grid or in disconnected “island” mode.

When the grid goes down or electricity prices peak, microgrids respond.

There are three main benefits of microgrids:

  • Keep your facility’s power on during grid outages
  • Store electricity and sell it back to the grid during peak demand
  • Integrate on-site renewables such as wind and solar
  • How do microgrids work?

    A microgrid co-locates electricity generation and consumption. Unlike the utility grid, which generates electricity in a centralized power plant and then distributes it along hundreds of miles of transmission lines, a microgrid generates electricity on-site.

    For electricity generation, microgrids typically use some combination of back-up diesel generators and renewables such as solar panels. Microgrids can incorporate battery systems to store electricity and deploy it during outages or when grid demand spikes.

    Intelligent software controls can automatically switch the facility between the utility grid and the microgrid based on factors such as power reliability and cost efficiency.

 

Products and software for microgrids

  • What is energy-as-a-service?

    Energy-as-a-service (EaaS) is a financing model for microgrids that allows you to avoid upfront costs. Similar to a software-as-a-service model, with EaaS you avoid capital expenditures and instead pay only for ongoing service.

    Schneider Electric and our strategic partner, the Carlyle Group, have joined forces to create AlphaStruxure, a venture that is solving the world’s most complex energy challenges. AlphaStruxure will finance, build, and maintain your microgrid. The video below explores how EaaS works.

 

Pioneers in energy-as-a-service

Not only is Montgomery County, MD home to a growing population, it’s also prone to severe weather. The county government set out to bolster energy resilience and update aging electrical infrastructure in its public facilities. In the process, the county helped pioneer the energy-as-a-service model.
 

A microgrid built for the future

Dedicated to environmental ethics, the Fox Cities Environmental Learning Center at Bubolz Nature Preserve became home to one of the world’s most sophisticated microgrids. The system is not only supporting the nature center’s energy resilience, it’s also spurring further microgrid innovations.
 

Fifth Season

Microgrids and indoor agriculture go together like peas and carrots.
 

Port of Long Beach

In response to California’s electrification push, the state’s largest ports are turning to microgrids for energy security and demand flexibility.
 

MCAS Miramar

The much-watched microgrid at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar demonstrates one solution to the world’s waste problem.

Resources

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Microgrid Blogs

Explore the latest thought-provoking content from over 600 Schneider Electric subject matter experts and various guest bloggers that are involved in the energy realm.

Microgrid News & Press

Discover new microgrid projects, announcements, and product updates from Schneider Electric.

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