Solar Microgrids

Microgrid Module

Systems that can generate electricity day or night can power “microgrids”, small local electric grids for supplying energy to gated communities, shopping malls, resorts, and agricultural projects. Microgrids can disconnect from the electrical grid during emergencies or power outages.

By using a “high temperature” absorber together with our concentrating mirrors, the Focused Sun collector can deliver heat at temperatures high enough to drive a turbogenerator that, in turn, can generate electricity. More importantly, that heat for the turbogenerator can be stored in concrete for nearly a day (19 hours at full power). We have recently partnered with Green Energy Resources and Services to supply concrete-based thermal storage. The storage is a 2 ft (600 mm) diameter cylinder of concrete insulated by an outer cylinder of fiberglass batts within a 6 ft (1.8 m) D culvert pipe for weather protection. The length of the cylinder is the same as the length of the collector string of that heats it. Storage size matches solar collection regardless of how long are the collector strings.

With proper synchronizing controls, these systems can connect to the grid. With a back up boiler or diesel generator, they can run completely off-grid. Learn more about it on Dr. Buckley's blog, Focused Sun Partners with Green Energy R&S. Focused Sun is partnering with the Xiang Yang Institute (Hubei, China) to develop the turbogenerators needed to deliver electricity from stored heat, day or night. Also working with us is MIT Professor Emeritus David Gordon Wilson, an expert in thermal storage, solar energy and turbomachinery.

Our recently approved patent covers a high temperature absorber used with our linear Fresnel collector. Mirrors that concentrate sunlight on a hybrid absorber can also concentrate it on a vacuum-jacketed absorber tube.

In several blog posts, Dr. Buckley describes a 100 kW electric microgrid, discusses microgrid economics and how microgrids compare to solar farms.

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