What Does a Microgrid controller Do and Do You Need One ?

Looking to set up your own microgrid? Such a grid will help you decouple from local utility power grids. Should a severe storm or overwhelming demand for electricity knock the local power grid offline, you may be able to access electricity even as houses and buildings around you go dark. If you’re going to set up a microgrid, however, you’ll need a microgrid controller.

So what is a microgrid controller anyway? A microgrid controller allows you to control your grid. Generally speaking, microgrids include both physical devices and software that allows you to distribute electricity, connect/disconnect to other grids, and tap into power sources.

For example, you might use your microgrid controller to automatically select the cleanest, greenest energy source, say solar panels or wind turbines. You might also use the controller to first select solar power during the day before automatically switching over to turbines or the utility grid at night. You could even use your controller to sell electricity back to the local power utility.

Managing a power grid can be a bit tricky. That’s why many energy professionals spend their lives studying how to operate and maintain electricity grids and energy production facilities, such as a dam.

Smaller grids are, in some ways, easier to manage. Continued advances in software now mean that controlling power grids, and especially micro and minigrids, is easier than in the past. You can even use smartphone apps to manage your grid.

Using microcontrollers effectively will take time and you’ll need to study. Regardless, you’ll likely be able to figure the controls and systems out. And these days, many tasks can be automated, so once your grid is up, you may find yourself having to manage it directly only on select occasions.

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