America’s number one solar power provider, SolarCity, just announced the launch of GridLogic, a microgrid service that it plans to make available worldwide.
GridLogic combines distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar or ground-mounted solar, with battery storage, “to deliver and balance energy” for communities. The technology is sold as enabling a “cleaner, more resilient and more affordable way of providing power.”
The benefits of a system like GridLogic will most likely be felt in remote or vulnerable locations, where power outages and high power costs can be replaced by regular and controllable clean energy. Such a tool can not only be used regularly in remote or island communities, but on demand in hospitals, military bases, or in the aftermath of natural or human disasters.
“GridLogic can provide electricity to communities for less than they pay for utility power with the added benefit of backup power for emergency services,” the company wrote in its press release, a must for a technology such as this to succeed.
As the company explain on the product page, “GridLogic is grid-tied but not grid-dependent”, which means that even if the electricity grid suffers some sort of interruption, one of the primary values of GridLogic lies in its ability to continue, thanks to in-built solar and battery storage.
“This means next time a hurricane hits or a rolling blackout occurs, your critical systems stay online. You can generate your own power when the grid goes down and keep your fire stations, emergency facilities and grocery stores operating seamlessly during these major events.”
I’ve written before about the value of renewable energy technologies can have on remote communities and emerging economies. Despite claims to the contrary, traditional energy generation such as coal and nuclear will have no valuable role in scaling back energy poverty in Africa, South America, and Asia. The massive lack of infrastructure inherent in rural and emerging economies is enough to undermine these assertions, not to mention the devastating impact more and more fossil fuels will have on regions, and the globe.
However, on-site renewable energy technologies with built in storage are an obvious solution to many, if not most situations.
IHS recently released figures which showed that 9% of solar PV systems in North America will have attached energy storage by 2018, adding that companies like SolarCity — with their natural relationship with Tesla — will be responsible for the growth of solar PV with attached storage.
With GridLogic in their pocket, SolarCity has the opportunity to make huge inroads into first-world commercial solar PV storage systems, as well as to make a massive impact on rural communities and emerging economies.