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By Elisa Wood
A new microgrid being built by Scale Microgrid Solutions and Urban Ingenuity will accomplish the unusual feat of serving its host — a Washington, D.C., university for deaf and hard of hearing students — and powering a community solar program.
The microgrid will be capable of providing Gallaudet University, which has about 1,400 students, with almost all of its electricity during a grid outage. In addition, it will serve the District of Columbia community solar program, available to Washington, D.C., residents, nonprofit organizations and small businesses.
Microgrids and community solar are rarely paired and their primary purposes are different. While microgrids are chiefly installed to provide reliable power during grid outages, community solar programs are designed to give those who cannot easily install solar on-site — renters, for example, or those that lack adequate roof space — an opportunity to participate in a renewable energy project. A community solar program allows them to subscribe to a solar array built off-site and receive a credit on their electricity bill for doing so.