Industrial Engineering

Solar Power Can Strengthen The Grid

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ISE Magazine – Volume 49, Number 10

Starting with military bases, distributed energy system could withstand disasters and attacks

Outfitting domestic military bases with solar photovoltaic-powered microgrid systems could jump-start a nationwide drive to protect the nation’s energy grid from disruption. Many military bases are in regions with a history of power outages. Solar-powered microgrids could serve as backups to prevent service disruption during natural disasters and attacks. In a distributed energy system, power production from multiple sources increases the difficulty of triggering cascading blackouts. And solar’s decreasing costs, geographic accessibility and versatility make sense for powering microgrids.

Engineers and energy policy experts from Michigan Technological University wrote that the military needs 17 gigawatts of photovoltaic, or PV, for domestic bases, and the systems are technically feasible. Natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes and winter storms, which cost between $18 billion and $33 billion every year in power outages and U.S. infrastructure damage, have historically been the main worries concerning the electrical grid.