Intro paragraph needed.

Microgrid

Microgrids are onsite power systems that can reliably serve 100 percent of the customer’s electric loads in parallel with or completely independent of the electric utility service. Microgrids use a dispatchable energy source to provide a high level of resiliency and ensure customer’s energy independence. This is accomplished through energy sources as gas-fired generators, with appropriate redundancy, and/or energy storage systems (ESS).

Depending on the customer’s needs, the generators can run in simple cycle to produce electricity only or provide electric and thermal energy through cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP). Non-dispatchable, renewable resources such as solar energy, coupled with ESS, can be incorporated to reduce fossil fuels consumption and maintain high reliability.

Cogeneration/CHP

Cogeneration, or CHP, is the simultaneous production of electric and thermal energy from a single fuel source. CHP can provide thermal energy in the form of steam, hot water, chilled water or drying heat. There are different CHP power cycles to properly serve the electric and thermal load profile of the customer. The simultaneous production of two forms of energy allows for more efficient fuel usage in the 60 to 80 percent range compared to 40 to 50 percent for conventional power generation cycles. Additionally, since CHP plants are located close to the customer’s loads, they incur no transmission line outages or transmission losses which further reduce fuel efficiency.

Conventional Power Plant

Cogeneration/CHP

Solar PV & Energy Storage

Solar PV generated electricity can effectively compete with other sources of electricity on a unit cost basis in most parts of the United States. As a standalone resource, solar PV’s ability to serve customer loads reliably is limited by its intermittent nature. However, with the advent of competitive ESS technologies, customers can now receive cost-effective, dispatchable onsite energy through Solar PV coupled with ESS. Solar plus ESS systems can also deliver significant utility electric bill savings by optimizing time-of-use (TOU) and other tariff rate structures.