MARIPOSA COUNTY, California (KGPE) – Pacific Gas and Electric is the first utility company in the continental United States to deploy a stand-alone power system or remote grid that helps with the cost and aims to prevent wildfires.
“This area was affected by the Briceburg Fire, it took out power lines that were bringing power to these customers. For the past two years, I believe they were running off of backup generators,” said Michele Nesbit, the CEOO & Co-founder of BoxPower Inc.
PG&E hired BoxPower Inc. to design and engineer the new system which will only provide power to customers in the area.
“This is the very first time we’ve used this sort of distributed energy technology as an alternative to rebuilding power lines that were destroyed in fire,” said Bennett Chabot, the Remote Grid Initiative Program Lead for PG&E.
The system reduces the risk of fire by replacing around 7,000 ft of wire in the steep and sloping ground into a 75 ft by 100 ft area.
“Now you got a small footprint, contained area, everything’s on the ground. Whereas there’s a lot of places where this won’t work, but where it does, it can be really powerful because those tend to be difficult terrain, hard to reach areas.”
The remote grid provides power using solar, battery systems and a propane backup.
“We designed them to not have to turn off public safety power shut off, so that’s really great for the customers connected to it. Problems that are hitting the network, the distribution system near them, they’re now buffered from them because they got everything they need right here.”