Report: Nanogrids offer affordable, reliable power to underserved communities

nanogrid community solar light bulbs

A new report from Guidehouse Insights explores opportunities for nanogrids and the role of solar to bring affordable energy access to underserved communities.

The report, “Nanogrids, the Building Blocks for Virtual Power Plants, Help Create a Sustainable Environment,” reviews the opportunities for nanogrids in underserved communities, their various technology combinations, and how a solar plus storage nanogrid can be a win-win situation for prosumers and the electric grid.

Increased volatility in energy prices over the last year has accelerated the need for adopting renewable energy (RE) and battery energy storage systems (BESSs) for better energy reliability, security and affordability. According to a new report from Guidehouse Insights, concerns about resiliency in remote communities have raised the importance of nanogrids as self-sufficient systems that can integrate local generation units, energy storage and advanced control systems. It evaluates such systems as the building blocks for virtual power plants (VPPs) and creating energy communities while helping create a sustainable environment.

“Nanogrids can operate independently from the traditional grid and ensure reliable electric power to underserved communities that the traditional grid has failed to provide,” says Rohith Unni, research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “As nanogrids are smaller in size than microgrids, they are more capable of resisting extreme weather events, which helps improve their resiliency and the community’s.” 

Guidehouse Insights recommends that policymakers and regulators include energy storage systems (ESS) in their integrated resource planning; grid operators promote nanogrids to reduce grid infrastructure costs by deferring network expansion; and solar and storage industries innovate their business models by developing integrated nanogrid and nanogrid swarm solutions. Consumers can benefit from cleaner, more resilient electricity solutions through such solutions, according to the report.

The report also evaluates nanogrids as building blocks for virtual power plants (VPPs) and energy communities, and looks at how regulatory and market adjustments can improve their adoption. An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the Guidehouse Insights website.

— Solar Builder magazine



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