Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ
Where is the Company Situated?
2030 W Hadley Ave, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88007
What happens during the rainy season?
Some parts of the world have monsoon seasons that last months. During the rainy season your Microgrid will need backup. One easy backup is liquid natural gas (LNG). In this example LNG heats the thermal storage during the monsoon. The stored heat drives the turbine to make electricity.
If the rainy weather only lasts a few days, stored solar heat can drive the turbine.
Can I order a Microgrid Today?
Yes. There are two types of customer orders:
1) orders for single Microgrid units.
2) orders for Microgrid factories.
Single Microgrid units require a 50% up-front payment, then 40% on delivery (FOB). The last 10% is based on your satisfaction.
How long can it provide power?
The Microgrid can store heat for as long as a week with no power used. It’s like a flashlight battery that can store electricity so long as it’s not used. If stored heat is used, the Microgrid can provide power overnight. Typically a sunny day provides enough power to last until the next day.
Does the Microgrid share infrastructure with the grid?
The Microgrid can share infrastructure with the grid, if it is “grid-tied.” A grid-tie uses electronic devices to synchronize the turbine with the grid. The grid-tie devices are similar to inverters used on photovoltaic solar panels.
How smart is it, technically?
Technically, the Microgrid is a sophisticated electro-thermal system developed over 12 years. A microcontroller adjusts the position of the linear Fresnel mirrors to direct sunlight onto the vacuum-jacketed absorber, despite changes in the position of the sun. Another Microcontroller adjusts the flow-rate of the synthetic oil (heat transfer fluid) to optimally charge the heat storage.
Yet the Focused Sun team has made the Microgrid easy to set up and run. Microcontrollers run the mirrors and flow system to ensure optimal operation day and night, summer and winter.
Why microgrids are the future?
Electricity in a microgrid is generated from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind and excess energy can be stored in a battery energy storage system. With our Microgrid we do not use batteries...
Overall, microgrids are helping society achieve a decarbonized, decentralized, digitized energy future.
What are the components of microgrid?
A microgrid is a local energy system which incorporates three key components; Generation, Storage and Demand all within a bounded and controlled network. It may or may not be connected to the grid. Different end-users have a range of requirements from their energy supply systems. Our Microgrid has a 24/7 electricity with CSP heat storage.
How economical is it?
Domestic USA costs of Microgrid units are about double the cost of locally made units. Contact Focused Sun for pricing. If you are interested in being a partner factory for Focused Sun, please contact us. For large arrays (500 kW and up), the cost can be as low as $2/W electric.
Is it scalable?
The Microgrid is scalable two ways. First, Microgrid units can be deployed in rows and columns to make small arrays. The units are designed to be placed next to each other -- lengthwise or widthwise -- to make maximum use of area available. For example, for 10 kW of generation, five Microgrid units can be arrayed together for the smallest footprint.
For small arrays (up to thirty Microgrids) this is the best solution. Each unit is an independent power plant; many parallel units give redundancy to the entire array. A string of Microgrid units along the edge of a big-box store can augment the cooling the store requires.
The second method is for larger arrays that combine generation and storage together, but still use a Focused Sun collector array. Here the generation required is too large for a small array of Microgrids.
For example, to generate 500 kW, an array covering one hectare (2 acres) is required. Of the three components of a Microgrid (collection, storage and generation), economies of scale apply to the storage and generation. Combining heat storage of many Microgrids eliminates the container and insulation of individual units. Combining the generation of many Microgrids into a single generator gives more efficient generation.
Focused Sun has bid on projects as large as 100 MW. If you are interested in large arrays, please contact Focused Sun for detailed discussions.
What are the advantages of a Microgrid?
Advantages of microgrid:
How much do microgrids cost?
According to NREL, community microgrids have the lowest mean cost, at $2.1 million/MW of DERs installed. The utility and campus markets have mean costs of $2.6 million/MW and $3.3 million/MW, respectively and the commercial market has the highest average cost, at $4 million/MW.
Focused Sun Microgrid is much lower.
I am very curious about collecting 4 times more than the regular collectors, is it possible and is it cheaper?
Each Microgrid delivers about 15 kW of heat energy during the 3 to 6 daylight hours depending on how sunny the climate is. That’s 45 to 90 kW-hr per day. Using that heat to run a turbine delivers
Why are microgrids more efficient?
Microgrids collect 60% of the sun’s energy as heat, far more than the photovoltaic (PV) panels at 20%. While PV panels convert solar energy directly to electricity, they throw away the other 80% of the solar energy that the panels intercept. The panels get hot and the wind blows that heat away.
Microgrids capture that waste heat and can use it later in the day by storing it in a thermal battery. Of the 60% of the solar energy it captures, either it is stored as heat for later use or it powers a turbine that converts it into electricity. Either way, three times more of the sun’s energy is used.
Where are microgrids used?
Microgrids can be used in remote areas to power off-grid villages, military operations or industrial projects. In rural areas they can be used for ranches and farms that need heat or electricity. For example, dairy farms and chicken farms need electricity but also hot water for cleanup. Microgrids can be used in small towns as municipal utilities or for heating and cooling big-box stores to augment air conditioning.
How do I start a microgrid business?
Microgrid businesses are factories that sell, make, install and maintain Microgrids. Focused Sun partners with these factories to license our technology, to provide continuing support and to provide components at the lowest worldwide costs.
What are the benefits of Microgrid?
Provide efficient, low-cost, clean energy.
Improve the operation and stability of the regional electric grid.
Critical infrastructure that increases reliability and resilience.
Reduce grid “congestion” and peak loads.
Enable highly-efficient CHP, reducing fuel use, line losses, and carbon footprint.
What is the difference between photovoltaic and CSP?
Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight directly to electricity by means of PV cells made of semiconductor materials. The electric energy can be stored with batteries.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems concentrate the sun's energy with reflective troughs or mirrors to collect heat. The heat can be stored by heat storage materials such as concrete or molten salts. Later this heat generates electricity.
Both start with collecting sunlight and end by delivering electricity. But CSP systems can use leftover heat from the generating process to chill water to ice, to desalinate water, for air conditioning and for industrial heat (i.e., wood drying, fabric dying). That heat is valuable -- it is worth as much as the electricity.