Current and Future Trends of Microgrid Systems

by Claire Juozitis on December 9, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Microgrid systems are a frequent topic of conversation in the energy storage community.

This blog has discussed what exactly microgrids are, and more specifically about remote telecom microgrids going green and ditching diesel. Of course, we also like to talk about our favorite microgrid projects, like an organic winery in California, an ecotourism lodge in Kenya, and an installation at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

If you’re not in the solar or energy storage industry, this may sound a bit like shop talk. But with microgrid investments increasing faster than ever and stories like Tesla’s 100% solar island microgrid in American Samoa making international headlines, it’s clear that the microgrid conversation is bigger than us. Microgrids are becoming a widely used solution around the world, providing reliable electricity to remote and developing areas, and helping to combat climate change.

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Guest Feature: Off-Grid Residential System in Branson, Missouri

by David Ewing on November 23, 2016 at 2:44 PM

 Aquion Energy’s saltwater battery has gotten a lot of press in the last couple of years for its unique technology, but I think it deserves even more.

I'm just your average homeowner myself, but I've been following solar technology for years wondering when it would be viable for the general public to start generating and consuming our own power instead buying it all from the grid.

In the past, lack of energy storage was always the downfall for off-grid systems: from small residential to commercial microgrids and nanogrids. There were some options available for large-scale commercial projects like flow battery technology, but those were too expensive for normal homes. Available products for residential customers have still been fairly limited, despite the demand and market growth for energy storage. Compatibility with different inverters and charge controllers has also been an issue.

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When Batteries Go Bad: Lead Acid Battery Performance in Failure Scenarios

by Aquion Team Member on November 15, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are inherently unpredictable.

In use cases where the grid is not available to augment renewable generation, batteries and/or generators are frequently installed to ensure energy is available when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Lead acid batteries are most common energy storage solution for these applications, which means the systems are sized to ensure the batteries discharge roughly 50% of their capacity. This is done to increase the lifetime of the battery. However, in certain failure scenarios, the state of charge of an off grid battery pack can fall well below 50%. These scenarios include:

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Santa Clara University Wins for Off-Grid Tiny House with Aquion Batteries

by Claire Juozitis on October 25, 2016 at 2:01 PM

If there’s one thing we’ve always had in America, it’s space. As the saying goes: “100 miles in Europe is a long way, 100 years in America is a long time.” Hundreds of years ago, this desire for room to grow resulted in the “sea to shining sea” mantra. In modern times, it has meant larger and larger homes: the average home in the US is over 2,600 square feet. This is a sizeable expansion from the average of about 1,700 square feet in 1978, despite the average family size becoming smaller.

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Solar-Powered Telecom Towers: Why Telecom Companies are Going Green

by Paul Ruggiero on October 11, 2016 at 2:14 PM

The telecommunications tower has become a ubiquitous part of the urban landscape. More towers go up as more people and mobile devices demand reliable, fast cellular and data service.

A telecom tower using Aquion batteries in China. 

But some of the fastest-growing markets for wireless service are in places where the power grid is weak or nonexistent. Remote telecommunications towers need power, and extending the power grid is often prohibitively expensive. It’s an especially poor investment in regions where grid power is expensive or unreliable. What’s a telecom company to do?

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