Microgrid Knowledge Base

Microgrid Controller Benefits

Microgrid Controller

Many facility managers and homeowners today are choosing to reduce their dependence on the traditional grid. They’re instead opting to use a more localized group of electricity sources and storage batteries. Having a microgrid for a building or facility is just one part of the equation, though. It is also important to have a high-quality microgrid controller that can be used with the system.

Continue reading to discover some of the biggest benefits of microgrids, what they are and how they can be used. You will also learn more about mPulse, a high-quality microgrid controller from CleanSpark.

Understanding the Microgrid and Its Benefits

A microgrid is essentially a smaller version of the traditional electrical grid and it works much the same way. However, it is for a much smaller area such as a facility or a small neighborhood. It can provide the location with much of the electricity that it needs and it can store electricity.

This doesn’t mean that the facility or building will no longer get any energy from the traditional grid. It can serve as a supplement to the traditional grid, although a microgrid might be the only option for power in certain remote and rural locations. There might not be a way to connect to the traditional grid.

Once the microgrid is in place, it’s important to have an energy controls system that can give you access to full microgrid controls. You can use a microgrid controller like mPulse to ensure the system is working properly for your needs and you can change the controls based on a range of situations. This can provide for more flexibility and nimbleness, which could help you save money.

Islanding

One of the biggest benefits of the microgrid is the capability of islanding. This means that it can serve as a self-sufficient system if needed. If the traditional grid has a problem and is not capable of providing power due to a storm, fire or any other reason, the microgrid can serve as an island. It would still provide the power the building, home, estate or facility might need.

More Control

Facility managers and owners are choosing to create microgrids because it provides them with more control over their power usage. They have the potential to help reduce their overall energy expenditure as well. A microgrid is beneficial when providing continuous power if the traditional grid is down without the need for fuel like generators. The use of renewable resources like solar means that the system can gather energy each day.

Typically, microgrids will use one or more kinds of distributed energy resources (DER). This could be power from wind turbines, solar panels, generators or hydropower. The power gathered from these resources can be used to power the building. Most of today’s microgrids have storage capabilities that allow them to store energy for later use. This is good for storing power during peak pricing to help reduce costs owed to traditional utility companies.

Sustainability

Microgrids are attracting an increased number of companies due to sustainability factors. The traditional grid creates power generated by fossil fuels to supply electricity. However, the use of renewable resources like solar power and battery storage from microgrids are better for the environment and typically cheaper than the traditional grid.

Why Might a Microgrid Be Needed?

In some cases, not having electrical power for a few hours or even a few days would not be a major problem. However, it is always an inconvenience. It can slow down the operations of a business or grind operations to a halt entirely. If there is no power at a hospital, the results could be catastrophic.

Medical facilities typically have generators that provide them with backup power but they may not be capable of providing enough power for a long period. Therefore, having a microgrid can be a major benefit. It allows for the regular creation of power as well as storage of power for those emergencies.

Of course, buildings that provide emergency responses such as hospitals, fire stations or police stations are not the only ones that could benefit from a microgrid. Senior centers, neighborhoods and other communities could also benefit from microgrids, especially with a microgrid controller.

How Large of a Microgrid Should You Have?

When choosing to opt for a microgrid, one of the most common questions is what size will be optimal. It’s important to understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all microgrid technology option that will work for everyone. Every business and building is different, so this means that you will need to have a unique microgrid that can work for your needs. Ask yourself if you should set up the microgrid controller and DER management software to work with your current goals or whether you should future-proof by developing a larger microgrid.

Installing More Panels Now to Prepare for Later

You should know how much storage you installed for your system but also determine if installing more solar panels proactively makes sense. In some cases, creating a custom solution now with solar panels for future use is better than waiting for when you need to expand.

This way, all the infrastructure will already be in place as the need for more energy expands. It will save you time for your future business or increased energy needs since you won’t have to install new panels. You will also find that you can use excess generation of energy for storage, to roll back the meter and more with our solar controller tools.

Choose mPulse as Your Microgrid Controller

With a better understanding of what microgrids are and why you need them, you still need to add a quality energy modeling software tool for microgrid controls and DERs. Fortunately, CleanSpark offers more than just help in planning the microgrid. The mPulse tool will put all the energy controls you need right at your fingertips. The microgrid controller is easy to use and will integrate with a wide range of tools without issue. It’s time to take a closer look at some of the features and benefits that you can get when using these microgrid controls.

mPulse is a reliable piece of software that can make controlling microgrids easier. The mPulse software is modular and can support all manner of energy systems whether they are complex or simple. The microgrid controls hardware uses commercial products from Tier 1, ISO 9000 vendors. This can allow for plug-and-play implementation and operation. The tool is made to scale which means it can evolve with your needs.

Using microgrid controllers properly requires that users understand what’s happening with their microgrid at any point of the day. Fortunately, mPulse algorithms can monitor the microgrid and respond quickly. This will help ensure the health and integrity of the systems while increasing energy savings and ensuring future energy availability.

There are often unexpected changes that can occur with facility power demands and the generation of renewable energy like solar and beyond. mPulse includes patented forecasting that can provide fast and responsive adjustments as a microgrid controller. It’s often thought to be better than scheduled control because it can prioritize battery discharge for the highest value targets. You will understand when to conserve battery capacity and can adjust the control algorithms quickly when the rates change.

One of the other reasons to choose mPulse as an energy management software is because of its technology-agnostic nature. This means that it can work with a wide range of technologies and interfaces. It will integrate with many energy resources and management systems, so customers can typically use what they already have in place without worry. In addition to being technologically agnostic, it is highly secure. Security is a top priority with CleanSpark, and it’s built into all levels of our technology.

What Level of Control Do You Need?

As mentioned, there is not a single solution that would work well for all energy needs. There are three options available with mPulse microgrid controllers with the option to choose from Lite, Pro or Max. Each of these tiers has a different level of control and features. Let’s learn more about each of the tiers to see which one might work best for you.

The Lite tier has the fewest features, naturally. This tier also requires a fee when changing the schedule. It includes local monitoring and schedule control.

The Pro tier is the mid-ground. This includes the features of the Lite tier, but there is no fee needed to change the schedule. It also provides full cloud portal functionality and automated monthly reporting. There are pre-configured alarms supported at this tier which you can opt to receive through email or SMS.

The Max tier is for those who want the maximum amount of control. It includes all the features that are available with the two previous tiers, as well as a range of other benefits for economic optimization. This includes ad-hoc reporting and data export, heavier hardware for the local controller and local economic optimization. There is no need to call CleanSpark if the utility rates change.

Which of these options would be right for you? It will generally depend on the type and size of the microgrid that is on the property. You want to choose the option that can provide you with the level of microgrid controls that you need. Those who want the most control will likely opt for the Max tier.

You can get in touch through the website or by calling 866-245-1722. Contact CleanSpark to learn more about the features and options that are available with the various software offered. Our team looks forward to helping you determine if the microgrid controller will work for your needs.