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Microgrids

Photo of microgrid testing equipment located at NREL's Distributed Energy Resources Testing Facility near Boulder, Colorado.

Microgrid testing at NREL's Distributed Energy Resources Testing Facility near Boulder, Colorado.
Photo by Connie Komomua

NREL's microgrid research and development investigates technologies and methods that enable distributed energy resources to make full-value contributions to the electric grid. A microgrid is a small-scale distributed power system that includes local power-generating facilities, individual homes and buildings, and wind and solar power systems.

Distributed energy resources can be used independently of the electric power system to provide backup power in the event of an outage. Interconnection technologies and policies allow distributed energy producers to sell excess energy back to utilities and the grid. In more complex scenarios, distributed energy resources have the potential to contribute an array of beneficial services to the grid.

When effectively integrated into an electric power system, distributed power systems can be used to provide high-value energy, capacity, and ancillary services such as voltage regulation, power quality improvement, and system-wide emergency power. In such scenarios, distributed energy resources can supplement as well as strengthen the entire electric power system.

Learn about NREL's current microgrid projects.