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It’s no secret in the industry that energy prices are volatile. They fluctuate frequently and unexpectedly based on consumer demands, fuel availability, and other market dynamics. But what if your business had the power to generate and store its own energy? Imagine little-to-no energy expenses affecting your bottom line and fewer outages during inclement weather. That’s the peace of mind you can achieve with a commercial microgrid. By pairing a microgrid with energy management software, businesses across the U.S. are achieving greater energy independence and reliable power, all while reducing the environmental impact of their business operations.

What is an Energy Management System?

An energy management system (EMS) is a comprehensive approach to monitoring, controlling, and optimizing energy usage. EMS solutions typically involve specialized management software and efficiency-tracking hardware to monitor energy consumption. These systems identify inefficiencies and implement strategies to reduce costs while improving their sustainability. 

What is a Commercial Microgrid?

Commercial microgrid systems are onsite energy systems that can operate independently or in connection with the main power grid. They provide greater energy reliability and resilience as well as the opportunity to integrate renewable energy sources. Commercial microgrids offer greater control over onsite energy usage, storage, and distribution.

By investing in a microgrid control system, businesses gain the ability to generate and store their own power. This technology reduces reliance on the main power grid and ensures uninterrupted operations, even during grid outages or weather disruptions. Businesses also have the opportunity to generate additional revenue through net-metering, or selling excess power they generate on-site to their local utility

Commercial Microgrids generate and store energy on site, allowing businesses to provide their own power, typically through wind or solar.

How is Energy Management Software Applied to Microgrids?

Energy management software and microgrids are a perfect pair of energy independence. While the microgrid generates and stores renewable power, energy management software monitors generation levels, deciding when it’s stored, distributed to the building, or sold to the local utility company for additional revenue. Energy management software offers data-driven automation for on-site renewable energy generation. It creates the necessary structure a microgrid requires to operate successfully and without waste.

4 Benefits of Investing in a Commercial Microgrid

Whether you operate in a bustling metropolis or a remote mountain community, businesses of every size and location can benefit greatly from a commercial microgrid. When it comes to business energy management, microgrids emerge as a forward-thinking investment with far-reaching benefits.

Increased Energy Reliability & Resilience: While other facilities might experience power outages due to extreme weather, your microgrid can operate independently from the power grid. This islanding feature enables you to use energy storage when you need power most. Experience much fewer operational disruptions with the reliability of microgrid technology.

Long Term Cost Savings: Most energy consumers fall victim to unexpected energy price hikes due to a fluctuating market, whereas microgrids offer greater cost control. Microgrids don’t rely on local energy markets or utilities. Instead, microgrid owners can actually sell excess generated power to their utility for an additional revenue stream.

Environmental Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility: Many businesses create clean energy goals to conserve energy and reduce their environmental impact. With a microgrid, you reduce your carbon footprint through renewable energy integration. Microgrid systems reduce your business’s reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

Enhanced Security & Community Improvement: While cybersecurity is becoming a greater concern for Americans, microgrids’ ability to isolate from the national grid provides greater safety and security. As a microgrid owner, your business is positioned as a community safety hub during emergencies. Residents will gather at your business to find shelter, power, and community when they need that support most.

Financing Options for Commercial Microgrids

While pursuing energy independence with a microgrid is an exciting endeavor, financing these projects can be a complicated task. It takes a significant upfront investment cost to begin implementing a commercial microgrid.  Fortunately, there are a variety of financial incentives, tax credits, and financing opportunities available for clean energy projects. 

Through initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act, the Investment Tax Credit, and the Production Tax Credit, businesses can receive federal funding and tax incentives to offset the initial costs of investing in a microgrid system. Depending on your area, there may be additional state or local incentives. Explore available financial incentives with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

Case Studies: Successful Commercial Microgrid Installations

Businesses of every size and industry can benefit significantly from microgrids and energy management software. Below, we explore two successful commercial microgrid installations that provide consistent cost savings and reliable power when each business needs it most.

Case study 1: Reliable back-up power at a bustling hospital

Kaiser Permanente in Richmond, California operates the second largest microgrid on the West coast as a back-up energy system for their 50-bed acute care hospital. Their microgrid system incorporates a solar array, battery energy storage, and a controller integrated with an existing combined heat and power system. 

Kaiser Permanente is able to use their microgrid to generate power for at least three hours should there be a local power outage. Their solar array produces 365,000kWh each year, providing $55,000 in energy savings. Not only is Kaiser Permanente Richmond able to achieve greater resilience and energy security during emergencies, but they’re also able to reduce their energy expenses each year.

Case study 2: Achieving energy independence at a remote marina

Off the shores of Desolation Sound in British Columbia, Canada lies Fisherman’s Landing, a remote, seasonal marina. The energy load demands of Fisherman’s landing vary widely between seasons, from 5kW during off season to a staggering 500 kW during peak fishing season. In order to support their fluctuating energy demand, Fisherman’s Landing chose to invest in a microgrid.

Their system includes an array of 48 solar panels and 118 kWh lithium battery energy storage. Since installation, the marina has improved its energy efficiency, resulting in lower fuel utilization, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reliable power that meets their seasonal energy demands.

Microgrids Power the Future of Your Business

Ultimately, the integration of energy management software with commercial microgrids offers a sustainable solution for businesses seeking greater energy independence, resilience, and cost savings. By pairing advanced monitoring technologies and renewable energy sources, businesses reduce their reliance on the main power grid, avoid operational disruptions, and contribute to environmental sustainability. As the world pursues a cleaner, more sustainable energy future, investing in smart technology and renewable energy is essential. Microgrids present an investment opportunity to prepare your business to thrive in an ever-changing energy landscape. 

If you would like to take control of your energy expenses today, consider exploring Integrity Energy’s cost-effective, fixed-rate energy plans. Our team of energy experts can help you save up to 50% on your energy bills. Request a free quote to start saving today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of energy management software in commercial microgrid operation?

The role of energy management software in commercial microgrid operation is to monitor, optimize, and control energy usage. Energy management software ensures efficient integration of renewable energy sources, managing energy flow, and maximizing cost savings for businesses.

How can businesses benefit from investing in a commercial microgrid?

Businesses benefit from microgrids by gaining greater energy reliability and resilience. Microgrids also  reduce operational disruptions during outages and enable the integration of renewable energy for additional cost savings and sustainability.  Additionally, microgrids can generate additional revenue by selling excess power back to the grid through net-metering.

What are some common components of a commercial microgrid system?

Common components of microgrid systems include renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, backup generators, management software, and grid interconnection equipment.  These components work together to ensure reliable and efficient energy supply for businesses, especially during grid outages or fluctuations.

What financing options are available for businesses looking to implement a commercial microgrid?

Businesses interested in  implementing a commercial microgrid can apply for  various financing options. There are federal incentives through the Inflation Reduction Act, such as the Investment Tax Credit or Production Tax Credit. Additionally, business owners can apply for state or local incentives, grants, loans, and third-party financing options like power purchase agreements or energy service contracts. These options can help offset upfront investment costs, making microgrid investments more accessible to businesses across the country.

How does a commercial microgrid enhance energy reliability and resilience for businesses?

Microgrids can disconnect from the main power grid during outages to operate independently. They also incorporate renewable energy sources and storage systems for later usage. These three factors contribute to improved energy reliability and resilience for businesses.  These features minimize operational downtime so you can continue uninterrupted operations, even in adverse conditions.

For additional answers to your energy technology questions, please visit our general FAQ page.