Wildfires Making Microgrids Popular

As wildfires become increasingly common in California, microgrids are gaining support because they replace power during grid outages and public safety power shutoffs. The fact that they generally use renewable energy makes them even more desirable. 

California approved microgrid tariffs at the beginning of 2021, then in April 2021 California US Congressman Jimmy Panetta introduced the (MICROGRID) Act bill that will give a 30% tax credit. Unlike existing federal tax credits for wind and solar, the microgrid tax credit could be taken as a direct payment by governments and nonprofits. If ratified, this tax credit would boost microgrid implementation, much as the solar tax credits did for solar power.

Islanding is an important feature for microgrids. It disconnects the microgrid from the main grid when the main grid goes down so that the local power is distributed only within the microgrid. ABB had a late start in this technology, but is now leading with 54 assets and appears to be continuing to file. The next largest patent holder, GE (34 assets), started sooner, but has slowed down dramatically, filing its last patent in 2018 for wind farms, which reflects its business focus

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