Scientific American guest poster Robert Fares, in his series on has an interesting idea about how to integrate solar power into a microgrid-style arrangement without having to go off-grid, discusses how houses with solar panels could connect together into microgrids, or modular grids, while still being connected to the main power grid in order to better use the solar power that is collected and stored.
In my last post, I discussed how transformer-level batteries could work to isolate clusters of houses during an outage to form microgrids powered by rooftop solar panels. A logical extension of this concept is the idea of residential energy storage: home-sized batteries that would enable a house with adequate solar to produce all of the electricity it needs and more. Houses could be connected in such a way that they balance electricity supply and demand in a market-like framework. Such a system would revolutionize the electric grid by transforming ordinary utility customers into producer-consumers or “prosumers,” each with the ability to act as a generator or consumer in the wider electricity marketplace.