Right around the turn of the new millennium, Rolf Disch designed and built the first solar city in Freiburg, Germany. This city, which consisted of two parts known as Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) an Solarsiedlung (Solar Village), put emphasis on power production through numerous rooftop solar arrays installed on almost every building, as reported by the Inquisitr. It was a monumental endeavor to get people living completely off the electrical grid yet remaining in an urban environment.
Now, the Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung may be joined with another city, as recent news reports that Brooklyn, New York, will build a solar city of their own. Upon completion, it will be the first city that can be independent from the power grid in the United States.
According to the official website of the project, known as the Brooklyn Microgrid, it is a proposal to develop a community in the Gowanus and Park Slope areas of Brooklyn, New York. This is all part of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal in creating local energy networks with the ability to separate from the larger electric grid during extreme weather events or other emergencies. In order to accomplish that goal, Cuomo is offering a $40 million incentive to lock in the design of the solar city microgrid.
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for said solar city microgrid is so residents are able to have access to electricity during extreme weather events and other emergencies. One major flaw that solar energy, specifically the panels, has is its dependence on the main power grid. As a result, many solar panel owners were surprised they didn’t have electricity after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, as reported by Minds.
Summarized, the solar power microgrid is a solution that benefits everyone. It is a sub-grid, within the main grid, able to connect and stay connected to the area’s main power, yet can also switch off from it and power itself. Finally, it is far more efficient in mitigating energy loss. As electricity travels long distances (from a power plant to a city for example), it loses about 6 percent of the electricity generated. That may not seem much, but given the fact that an average power plant produces 2,000 megawatts a day, it adds up.
To learn more on what a microgrid can do for Brooklyn, New York, Steve Pullins from Green Energy Corporation does a great job explaining it (video below). There is also a petition people can sign if they support such an endeavor, too.
[Image via Minds]