In four days, the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit – VERGE Hawaii, in Honolulu, will use a 100-percent renewable energy microgrid.
“The microgrid brings to life the ambitious renewable energy goal Hawaii is seeking to achieve,” said Eric Faurot, chief executive officer of GreenBiz Group, which is producing the event in partnership with the Hawaii State Energy Office. “By building a 100-percent renewably powered microgrid, we are demonstrating the power and potential of interconnecting a diversity of technologies.”
That microgrid built around the Hilton Hawaiian Village is like a test drive for the complete system to be implemented by 2045, to fuel clean electricity to the whole state.
With a partnership between solar, biodiesel and electrical installation companies, the project is leaded by OpTerra Energy Services, with All Power Labs for biomass gas; Pacific Biodiesel, Blue Planet Energy for ion battery storage; SunPower and Solexel for solar panels; and Spirae for his wave microgrid controller.
But this is not the first approach of Hawaii to clean electricity generation and distribution. The utility company Hawaii Electric, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and SolarCity – the nation’s largest solar power provider – recently teamed up to research on high-penetration solar scenarios and address operational issues using advanced computer modeling. The key to that massive implementation of a solar-only grid are the advanced inverters developed to convert the direct-current power of the solar panels into the alternating current used by the power grid.
These advanced smart inverters will allow at least 2,500 additional customers to connect their solar power systems to the Hawaiian Electric grid by next April, making the milestone for 2045 nearer than ever.
What is real-time grid integration?
A grid-connected system provides a domestic -or small business- solar installation with electricity during sunlight hours, and fed back excess electricity into the grid. When renewable resources are unavailable, electricity from the grid supplies your needs, eliminating the expense of electricity storage devices like batteries.
The real-time integration requires for an advanced grid system capable of collecting, storing and redistribution of that received energy. When the scale of the grid becomes bigger, it need to rely on complex mathematical and computational models to operate effectively.
On May this year, the Department of Energy of the US launched the ENERGISE -Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy- program. This program specifically seeks to develop software and hardware platforms for utility distribution system planning and operations that integrate sensing, communication, and data analytics.
“Our ongoing grid modernization work will help accelerate the widespread adoption of the clean energy resources that will define our low-carbon future. This funding will help that mission by supporting industry partners working to integrate, store, and deploy solar energy throughout our electric grid,” said Lynn Orr, Energy Department Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “In doing so, we hope to drive down costs and encourage even more American homeowners and businesses to install solar systems.”
The future of grid-connected solar power is now
With increasing interest from both private and public organizations, domestic solar installations are the key to mass adoption of clean energy.
In a few more days, we will see the results of the benchmark initiative of Verge Hawaii and all the advances on technology and applications that the future holds for this environmentally conscious business. Stay tuned!