Microgrids have begun to be put into use in places like military bases, hospitals, and data centers, all places where it is imperative that there be a constant supply of electricity. It is time, however, to think about bringing microgrids to the mainstream.

Along with enhancing reliability, microgrids serve another useful function: they can help the larger grid stay in balance.  As the world moves toward an energy system that looks more and more like the Internet, with two-way power flows thanks to growing reliance upon on-site sources of distributed generation (DG), this increasingly dynamic complexity requires new technology.  But some forms of DG – especially variable renewable resources such as solar or wind — create a greater need for smart grid solutions, such as microgrids.

At a time when the cost of photovoltaic cells is dropping and their efficiency is increasing and our infrastructure is growing older and older, the microgrid are becoming more of a possibility.

Read the whole article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/pikeresearch/2012/10/17/moving-microgrids-into-the-mainstream/