Microgrids are the future of energy production and distribution, but very few people understand how to create a successful microgrid. In this course, microgrid expert Dr. Andrew Skumanich provides a practical foundation for understanding microgrids and how to build them. The course includes a detailed view of the components that go into a microgrid as well as guidance on how to develop a business model, evaluate financing options, and navigate policy. An extended set of supporting tools for developing a microgrid—such as modeling software and system analyzers—are also discussed in detail. Moreover, key information is contextualized using case studies and direct learning from existing microgrid projects.
- Identify the key components that comprise a microgrid.
- Examine the various challenges to implementing microgrids.
- Learn how to assemble the necessary components to create a functional microgrid.
- Explore optimization approaches using modeling and other tools.
- Learn how to develop a microgrid business model.
- Become familiar with the considerations for both U.S.-based and international microgrid deployment.
Length: 10 weeks
About the Instructor
Dr. Andrew Skumanich – Founder and CEO, SolarVision Co
Dr. Andrew Skumanich is a successful Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of SolarVision Consulting, a boutique technology business development company with a core team of technologists focused on renewables and distributed generation energy production. A global expert on microgrids, he has participated as a member of a team that installed more than 1MW of microgrids in developing countries. He has published peer-reviewed papers on microgrids as well as other key technology trends.
Self-Paced Online Course
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. Although the course will not officially begin until the scheduled start date, students are encouraged to work ahead when possible.
Access Information and Build Your Training Library
After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Additionally, you can return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.
Earn a Certificate of Completion
When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. Also, you can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our one-click LinkedIn integration.
Earn Continuing Education Credits
Self Report with Certificate: 30 AIA LU Credits
“I enjoyed the course and it has helped me considerably in my research about microgrids.” – Franco Canziani, Manager Waira Energia SAC
Welcome – Orientation Materials
This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. This session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the course ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.
Week 1 – Overview
First, we’ll define our terms, explain the increasing need for microgrids, examine the U.S. and global microgrid markets, present drivers like security and disruptions (e.g. weather, terrorist attack, natural disasters), outline the main elements of a microgrid, provide an overview of distributed generation, and imagine how microgrids will function as the energy landscape continues to evolve.
Week 2 – The Big Questions
In the second week, we will provide the answers to the following questions: How do we classify microgrids? What are the two key things microgrids provide? What is the value proposition? What is holding back the development of microgrids if they are superior to the existing grid? What is a realistic forecast for microgrids? What would it take to exceed the realistic forecast?
Week 3 – Case Studies
While microgrids have been studied and discussed extensively in theoretical terms, real-world examples are limited. This week will present case studies covering mixed modes (diesel, solar PV, batteries, etc.) and also different contexts/geographies (United States, international, island, etc.). Particular attention will be paid to the University of California, San Diego microgrid, which generates over 90% of the university’s electricity.
Week 4 – Key Components
Each microgrid project is different and incorporates different technologies and components to achieve its goals. This week will cover some of the common pieces of the puzzle, including solar panels, batteries, macro and micro wind turbines, diesel, and controllers.
Week 5 – Assembling a Practical Microgrid
Microgrids range in size and complexity. Therefore, we will cover do-it-yourself options, more complex configurations, and engineering scale considerations.
Week 6 – Tools to Facilitate Microgrid Deployment and Modeling for Optimization
Then, we will describe how to leverage the learning and capabilities already out there. It will present more than 50 tools for global microgrid implementation. Two examples are HOMER, software that provides quantitative modeling of power sources and output, and GifZ, a German web-based microgrid tool that can assist with load assessment, sizing, and financing.
Week 7 – What Microgrid Customers Want: How Can the Industry Best Deliver?
We will delve into the myriad obstacles microgrids face. In the United States’ residential market, all the necessary pieces exist, but the puzzle has not yet been solved. In the Virgin Islands, there is demand but no supply.
Week 8 – Financial and Policy Considerations
Then, we will explore the best ways to finance microgrid projects and how to drive (and survive) local, state and federal microgrid policy. It will also touch upon near-term developments in global support sources.
Week 9 – International Microgrid Deployment
This week will take a broad look at the international microgrid landscape (including India, Africa, and China). It will review different potential business models and look to the telecommunications sector as an example of what is possible. Finally, it will provide an overview of clean energy mini-grid support providers and programs.
Week 10 – The Future of Microgrids
Lastly, we will summarize and synthesize the material for the first nine weeks and provide additional resources for researching microgrid development.
After The Course – Feedback and Additional Resources
No matter how great this course is, we know it’s just one part of a bigger journey. That’s why, in this module, we’ll start thinking about what comes next. You’ll provide feedback on the course, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Also, don’t forget that you’ll have access to the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year). Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.