What are micro-grids and what are their benefits?

For many city dwellers in developed or even developing countries, it is rare to be without electricity for a long time.

Most of us are used to 24×7 power.

This is possible mainly because of the electric grid, which carries electricity from large power generating stations to our houses and factories and offices.

What about regions worldwide which do not have the electricity grid available?

Are there such regions indeed? Of course, yes. There are tens of thousands of villages in underdeveloped and developed countries where there is no electric grid, and it could take a while for the grid to reach these regions.

Essentially, these guys could either pray really hard to their favorite Gods to have the conventional grid reach them during their lifetime. Or…

They could try out microgrids.

A microgrid is just that – a micro, smaller version of the main electric grid. Instead of relying on a grid supplied by a centralised power plant, in the case of a micro-grid, a smaller scale power generation facility is implemented at these villages or remote locations. These small power plants typically use renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and in some case small hydro. A grid is constructed from this distributed power plant to the village or a cluster of villages close by.

Thus, using the concept of a micro-grid, many of these remote locations or villages where thee grid has not penetrated can have access to electricity within short time frames.

In the last few years, I have increasingly seen such microgrids being set up in remote regions in many countries worldwide. Many of these have been purely based on solar panels alone, a few others have been a combination of solar and wind, and at least in a couple of cases, I have seen solar and biomass hybrids used for microgrids to power small, remote communities.

What are micro-grids and what are their benefits? - Cleantech Guide

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