As the climate change crisis worsens, people who are concerned about the state of the world are seeking alternative sources of power to cut back on oil and gas usage. For these people, community based power systems can be a great solution. These systems connect homeowners to a traditional power grid, providing them with renewable energy from the sun, wind, and water when those resources are available and feeding excess electricity back into the grid for community use. When renewable energy is unavailable, homes on a grid connected renewable energy system can revert back to using traditional forms of energy. Connecting to a community based power system that uses renewable energy can be the first step towards a greener future for you and your community.
How to Connect to a Community Based Power System
Attaching to a grid connected renewable energy system requires special equipment in addition to municipal system components. Homeowners should research exactly what is needed to connect in their own neighborhoods, as each grid may require specific connection tools. However, most systems will require the use of new power conditioning equipment (which ensures that your power matches the voltage and frequency of power in the grid) safety equipment, meters, and other instrumentation. These components, called balance of system equipment, ensure that your home can safely and effectively receive renewable energy.
To begin preparing your home for grid connections, contact your power provider directly to get information about specific requirements. Your state utilities commission, state utility consumer advocate group, or state energy office may have more information. When connecting to the grid, you may be asked to sign an interconnection agreement. This agreement states that you will carry liability insurance in addition to permitting, engineering, inspection, metering, and stand-by fees, depending on your power supplier.
There are several types of community based power systems that can be attached using these methods. These run on solar, wind, geothermal, or water power, or a combination of several different renewable energy sources. Each of these systems is supplemented with electricity from traditional energy sources, such as oil and gas, on days where there is not sufficient renewable energy to meet the grid’s needs.
Benefits of Community Based Power Systems
Choosing to connect to a community based power system can positively impact you and your community. Using these systems gives homes and businesses that cannot install solar panels or wind turbines of their own the opportunity to use renewable resources for their power. Widespread adoption of renewable energy in this manner can also improve the air quality and health of the community as a whole. This increased popularity can lead to job creation and a significant increase in economic health for communities that host grids compatible with renewable energy adoption.
Individual Impacts of Community Based Power Systems
On an individual level, community based power systems can provide residents with cheaper electricity. As the system becomes more popular, the price to adopt will decrease, encouraging participation and rewarding those who make the switch. The cost of renewable energy as a whole is decreasing as well, further impacting individual finances when it comes to choosing renewable electricity. Individuals can also enjoy more reliable and efficient renewable power, as community-scale generators are located close to loads on the distribution grid. In reassuring consumers that they will have access to affordable, reliable power, community based power systems provide them with the chance to make an impact on the environment without sacrificing their own comfort.
Societal Benefits of Community Based Power Systems
By providing individuals with easy access to renewable energy source, community based power systems encourage more widespread use of resources that make a positive impact on the environment. Using renewable energy can limit the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the air, helping to mitigate the effects of global warming. It can also decrease the levels of fracking and oil drilling being undertaken. These methods of harvesting oil and gas can destroy habitats and contaminate water sources, while renewable energy carries little to no environmental impact. As the popularity of these systems increases and more people begin seeking out community based renewable energy systems, renewables will get closer to becoming the default power source across the globe.
Learning About Renewable Energy
Community based power systems allow consumers to use renewable energy when possible and supplement it with traditional electricity when necessary. They can be connected to homes and businesses through special equipment, which you can find out more about by contacting the appropriate offices in your area. These systems represent a strong step forward in improving our environment, communities, and individual lives, and learning more about community based power systems and grid connections can help you become a more informed consumer and allow you to participate more fully in its advancement.