Microgrids are an intriguing way to create a cleaner, more energy secure future. However, retrofitting existing homes for sustainable energy is more complicated than simply installing a solar array. In fact, microgrids involve multiple unique pieces of electrical equipment that work together to manage a home’s energy supply and distribution.
Typically, homes receive power directly from a public utility company. The main panel serves as the intermediary between the power company and an individual residence. It houses the main circuit breaker which allows a homeowner to disconnect power to the entire house at once, rather than to individual circuits, and generally houses a meter to record power draw. Connected to the main breaker is the load center, which acts like a switchboard to distribute power to individual circuits throughout the home, powering lights, outlets, appliances and other devices. The load center includes a circuit breaker for each circuit in the home, allowing power to individual circuits to be disconnected when desired or when a circuit becomes dangerously overloaded. All homes have both a main panel and a load center. However, for homes connected to a microgrid, several additional pieces of equipment are needed to provide islanding capabilities, load management, and allow the home to use the power produced by the microgrid.
In addition to the main panel and the load center, microgrid-connected homes will need an inverter, a smart panel, and a microgrid controller. Homes will also need access to a microgrid battery, which can be (and often is) shared between multiple residences. This additional equipment helps to ensure that microgrid-connected homes have a reliable, efficient, and sustainable supply of power at all times.
Learn more about residential microgrid equipment in the infographic below. View PDF
Design by Anna Haefele
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