Why Microgrids Will Become Cheaper, Smarter and More Agile in the Next Two Years

Date: Sept. 13, 2016

How are microgrids changing?

Let’s take a quick look at how microgrids that will be installed in two years could be dramatically different from today’s advanced installations.

Trend One: Microgrids Will Become Cheaper

Microgrids are about to become much less expensive to build. Here are three reasons . . .

  • The cost of solar panels and other equipment is falling quickly. The cost of building a solar field to support a microgrid could fall as much as 33% in the next few years.
  • Batteries are becoming much less expensive. The cost of lithium ion batteries has already fallen by about 50% over the last four years, and is expected to fall another 50% in the next four.
  • The growing numbers of microgrids in other countries will bring costs down. As the pace of development and installation increases in Asia, the Mideast and other regions, the production of microgrid equipment will increase and prices will fall.

Trend Two: Greater Agility

Systems will respond to conditions and make changes faster, with much less need for human monitoring and control. Two of the reasons . . .

  • Smarter control systems. They will track data, “learn” what happens before events, and use that information to take preventive action when those events are about to happen again.
  • Improved sensors. If it is necessary to switch power sources, for example, sensors will recognize sooner what is happening and send data to control systems. And they’ll do it more quickly than any human can.

Trend Three: Microgrids Will Become Money-Makers

This is a longer-term trend, but it will become increasingly possible for microgrids to sell the power they don’t use back to utilities or to surrounding communities and industries. Here are three reasons . . .

  • More efficient storage batteries. They’ll hold more power at less expense, making it more reasonable for microgrids to sell unneeded electricity.
  • More efficient solar fields. As solar-generated electricity becomes cheaper and more plentiful, more of it can be sold.
  • More efficient use of available power. From more energy-efficient home appliances to more efficient lighting systems, the move is on to use less electricity. The result for even small microgrids? As less power is used, more will become available to turn back to utilities or sell to buyers in all sectors.

At Infocast’s Microgrids Convergence Conference, both new and established microgrid customers will come together with renewable energy developers, microgrid enabling companies, utilities, system integrators, software providers, storage companies, and financiers to explore biz models for developing microgrids for campuses, cities, communities, and more!