Community Microgrid Initiative

Designing and staging Community Microgrids for resilience

Providing communities an unparalleled trifecta of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits

The Clean Coalition’s Community Microgrids are designed to provide indefinite, renewables-driven backup power to critical facilities. Our Community Microgrid Initiative will provide a standard methodology that any community can use to optimize and streamline the deployment of local renewable energy.

What is a Community Microgrid?

A Community Microgrid is a coordinated local grid area served by one or more distribution substations and supported by high penetrations of local renewables and other distributed energy resources (DER), such as energy storage and demand response. Community Microgrids represent a new approach for designing and operating the electric grid, relying heavily on DER to achieve a more sustainable, secure, and cost-effective energy system while providing indefinite, renewables-driven backup power for prioritized loads

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Our Community Microgrid Initiative projects

Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid

Spanning 70 miles of California coastline — encompassing the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara (including Montecito), and Carpinteria — this highly transmission-vulnerable, disaster-prone region can benefit greatly from the resilience provided by Community Microgrids.

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Santa Barbara Unified School District Solar Microgrids

The Clean Coalition and Sage Energy designed and executed a state-of-the-art RFP process for a 28-year fixed-rate PPA for solar at 14 District sites, with full Solar Microgrids at 6 of those sites — including game-changing innovations that guarantee bill savings and resilience benefits to the District.

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Valencia Gardens Energy Storage Project

Pairing innovative energy storage with an existing solar system at one of the largest solar installations in San Francisco, in a disadvantaged community, this project will showcase how front-of-meter (FOM) energy storage can be effectively deployed in dense, developed urban environments.

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Hybrid Solar Microgrids for Camarillo, California

The Clean Coalition conducted a feasibility study and will manage the design work for Hybrid Solar Microgrids at five City facilities, with the projects designed to achieve zero net energy over their anticipated 30-year life — and reduce the cumulative carbon footprint of the sites by about 88%.

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Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD)

The Clean Coalition completed a feasibility assessment for the LACCD to identify emergency power needs for critical loads and various backup power solutions, including a Solar Microgrid, at the LACCD Educational Services Center (ESC), a high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles.

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Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative

There is a unique opportunity to build back right in Montecito after a devastating wildfire and debris flow, while ensuring indefinite renewables-driven backup power for critical emergency response and recovery facilities. This initiative will also showcase the grid of the future.

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Residential Solar Microgrid

The Clean Coalition partnered with a homeowner in Montecito, California, to manage the development, deployment, and standardization of two Solar Microgrids, one for the main home and one for a guest house and orchard. This project will serve as a model for future Residential Solar Microgrids.

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North Bay Community Resilience Initiative

This initiative aims to create a more robust, resilient energy system and lower the environmental impacts of housing and transportation, while maximizing clean local energy use with solar, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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Calistoga Community Microgrid Initiative

The Clean Coalition conducted a Community Microgrid feasibility assessment for the City of Calistoga, in a Northern California region of high wildfire risk. A Community Microgrid will protect Calistoga from all types of power outages.

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Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC)

The PAEC Initiative provided an opportunity for the Clean Coalition to develop innovative, replicable approaches for accelerating the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities (AECs), including Solar Emergency Microgrids.

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Hunters Point Community Microgrid Project

Conducted in collaboration with Pacific Gas & Electric, the Hunters Point Community Microgrid Project was designed to transform the Bayview and Hunters Point areas of San Francisco into a world-class Community Microgrid.

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Long Island Community Microgrid Project (LICMP)

Aiming to achieve nearly 50% of its grid-area electric power requirements from local solar, this project sets the stage to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in transmission investments that would otherwise be required to deliver power to the region.

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Creating a scalable, replicable solution

Rather than continuing the slow process of evaluating local renewable energy projects one at a time, our Community Microgrid Initiative is creating a fast pathway to bring clean local energy online.

By modeling large areas of the distribution grid, we can efficiently identify greater distributed generation opportunities, allowing utilities and regulators to establish streamlined deployment plans. This systemwide approach enables large amounts of local renewables to come online in months rather than years.

The Clean Coalition is collaborating with electric utilities and technology firms to ensure that grid modeling software enhances visibility and management of energy at the distribution grid level. This advanced distribution grid modeling, which includes optimization analysis for both the location and mix of distributed energy resources, allows for a quick and accurate assessment of an individual substation’s potential capacity for local renewable energy. Utilities can then rapidly deploy local renewables in communities based on simplified integration scenarios, such as:

  1. Lower-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can be brought online, using existing voltage regulation and advanced inverters, with minimal investment in the distribution grid
  2. Medium-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can be brought online with cost-effective storage and some investment in the distribution grid
  3. Higher-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can island essential services with additional storage, local reserves, and more substantial investment in the distribution grid

These scenarios will guide utilities and regulators to determine appropriate local capacity targets for renewable energy and establish pathways to meet an area’s specified goals.

Community Microgrid configurations

The Clean Coalition is focusing on Community Microgrid configurations that incorporate combinations of various factors.

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Microgrid examples in California and throughout the US

While deploying a true Community Microgrid requires utility cooperation, standalone microgrids are becoming more common around California and the US.

In addition to the Clean Coalition’s projects detailed above, we have compiled a list of some of the microgrids around the country, including in California.

See a sampling of microgrids around the country here. >>

Recent news

The latest in clean local energy

Learn about our innovative projects and initiatives on our blog, and see what others are reporting about our important work.

Keeping lights on with microgrids

Bay Area Monitor reports on the Clean Coalition's Valencia Gardens Energy Storage project and load tiering methodology.

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Why Aren’t There More Microgrids?

Microgrid Knowledge reports on the Clean Coalition's VOR123 methodology as it was discussed during their Microgrid 2021 conference.

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California Agency Highlights Funding for Microgrid, Innovative Projects. Considers ‘VOR’ Research

Microgrid Knowledge reports on the CEC's new value-of-resilience initiative and the Clean Coalition's existing standardized VOR methodology.

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