Microgrids Are Giving Power to the People

Developers around the country are focusing on constructing energy-resilient community microgrids, which function as self-contained power grids. While the U.S. Energy Department estimated that there were over 450 operational microgrids in the U.S. in 2022, experts suggest there could be more than 3,500 microgrids across 30 states. Although government agencies, academic institutions, and healthcare facilities have mainly initiated these projects, residential microgrid development will likely expand as home developers continue to invest in power-resiliency projects and states begin to offer funds and incentives.

Residential microgrids are becoming an increasingly effective marketing tool, attracting both buyers and renters. Combining solar panels and battery storage systems, these localized energy networks allow homeowners to receive utility bill credits in exchange for interconnection agreements, helping to keep their lights on during local power grid stress or outages. The cooperative model is particularly appealing as it distributes profits back to customers in the form of lower utility bills.

A prototype microgrid community has been established at Heron’s Nest in Shallotte, North Carolina, showcasing the potential for energy-resilient homes on a larger scale. Similarly, KB Home is developing a microgrid community in Menifee, California, consisting of more than 200 houses equipped with heat pumps, electric appliances, solar panels, and shared battery systems. These endeavors aim to explore the viability of large-scale, self-sufficient communities that reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs, and potentially revolutionize power consumption through innovative features like smart electrical panels and electric vehicle integration.

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