05/31/2022

Are You Ready to Take Advantage of the Growing Demand for Nanogrids?

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4 MIN. READ

Innovative technology is changing energy production and usage in electric grids around the globe and here in the U.S. For electrical contractors, this trend means new opportunities. Nanogrids are one of the latest advances. Experts predict that revenues from nanogrids that couple solar, battery storage, and smart panels could reach $73.8 billion by 2031. Are you ready to support this growing market?

What are nanogrids?

As the name implies, nanogrids are small grids or power infrastructures that deliver local energy to one home or building. The energy production is local, often with solar and battery storage as its source.

Nanogrids are self-sufficient systems that combine power generation, controls, and usually, energy storage systems. In North America, many nanogrids connect to the local power grid. However, they can operate independently, which is a huge part of their appeal.

People embracing electrification, electric vehicles (EVs) and clean energy worry that aging centralized power grids may fall short, particularly after several weather-related failures in recent years. As a result, they are adopting nanogrids to ensure high quality, reliable electric power, usually from renewable energy sources.

What nanogrids include

Nanogrids typically consist of local power production such as solar, a battery storage system, and a smart panel to coordinate between stored power and utility power. Nanogrids are similar to microgrids but are:

  • Smaller so they are easier to deploy and more reasonably priced.
  • Localized for use by one home or building.
  • Capable of being connected to other nanogrids, microgrids and the local utility’s grid.

Why invest in nanogrids

The concept of nanogrids has been around for a while. However, interest is growing with increased demand for EVs and concerns about grid availability with escalating climate change weather interruptions. People want to invest in nanogrids to become more resilient and independent from the main grid. The technology is also a good way to save on energy costs and reduce one’s environmental footprint.

Energy storage is an important component in nanogrids, it is present since it adds stability and helps ensure self-reliance. In fact, storage improvements, such as battery banks, are making nanogrids more valuable as assets. When storage is present, the grid’s controller will store or withdraw energy as needed.

Most importantly, the timing is right for this heightened interest. Declining costs for solar power, energy storage batteries and other elements improve the value proposition for nanogrids.

Benefits and solutions

As a contractor, it’s important to understand who can benefit the most from nanogrids. For example, a nanogrid is a good solution for homes and businesses with solar arrays, those interested in electrification or off-grid living, and those living in remote areas. Nanogrids are also useful in areas where backup power or power quality is unreliable in a natural disaster.

For example, compare a nanogrid to a traditional home solar system. Older solar power systems usually produce energy to be put back on the utility grid and offset local utility costs. However, a nanogrid lets the solar system owner store and use free energy for their own use.

Combining storage batteries, renewable energy and advanced controls, such as smart panels, lets people better manage home energy use, thereby saving money. Smart panels allows users to control electricity to appliances and choose the best time to switch on the pool pump, charge the EV, run the clothes dryer, or charge their storage batteries. Users can control their energy use to stay off the utility grid as much as possible to recover their investment. They save money by storing energy produced when the sun is shining for use when it is not. In addition, this approach lets users avoid or at least optimize grid pricing.

Certified installers

Nanogrids let owners get the maximum value from their solar power and smart panels when coupled with energy storage. However, while nanogrids are relatively easy and quick for a professional to install, they are not a DIY project.

Professional design and installation are essential to avoid potential safety and technical issues in nanogrids. Installers need to understand the technology, the ever-changing standards, and guidelines that vary by city and utility. The learning curve in this evolving area can be steep for independent contractors.

Qmerit can help

At Qmerit, we are here to help homeowners, building owners, and property managers implement sustainable electric solutions by leveraging our network of local contractors. Through its Certified Solutions Partner (CSP) program, Qmerit offers electrical contractors an opportunity to learn about new electrification technologies and techniques with in-depth training and continuing education programs. We also provide business coaching workforce development for electrical contractors.

Contact Qmerit today to open up a new customer base for your electrical contracting company, provide training and resources, and become a leader in your local market.

Lowry Stoops President, Qmerit Network