Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility company that serves much of northern California, has commissioned the first of many standalone microgrids in Mariposa county near Yosemite National Park. Built and installed by BoxPower, the remote grid will permanently replace the overhead distribution power lines that once served a handful of customers in Briceburg, a community located in a High Fire Threat District of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The new microgrid will improve reliability while significantly reducing the risk of wildfires in the area.
The hybrid system uses solar combined with battery energy storage and backup propane generators to provide a permanent supply of electrical energy to remote customers as an alternative to using traditional poles and overhead wires.
BoxPower says such microgrids may be used to supply other remote locations that are served by conventional transmission lines that traverse other HFTD areas. The microgrids are expected to cost less to build and maintain than building and servicing transmission lines. BoxPower has previously installed two of its microgrid systems in Puerto Rico.