Center Advises Industry Partners on Production of Modular Electric Generators For Rapid Deployment

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Industry members of the NSF-fundedFuture Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Engineering Research Center (ERC), headquartered at North Carolina State University, contracted it to advise on the development of a Modular Electric Generator (MEG) that could be transported to remote locations and connected to existing grids.


The MEG is modular and scalable to match various load requirements, and customizable once on-site. The MEG is a simple method for mass deployment of renewable energy resources, and provides greater grid resiliency for at-risk populations such as in the Caribbean islands, remote villages, and rural communities in the US.


ERC industry member Pos-En, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, contracted with the Center to help develop the MEG, with the goal of creating a “microgrid in a box.” Pos-En worked with the APC division of West Kingston, Rhode Island-based Schneider Electric to manufacture four MEG units for deployment in the U.S.

The weather proof container is designed for easy shipment. The system operates on direct current (DC) to minimize conversion losses and simplify controls. The equipment can accept inputs from any type of distributed energy resource whether solar, wind, or diesel generator.

The MEG design promotes the connection of DC loads to DC sources without conversion. Many common electric loads like computers, LED lights, and some high efficiency appliances use power electronics to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current for use in the devices. However, many renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics output DC, and use power electronics to convert the output to AC, and match the grid frequency. The MEG avoids the losses in power, and enables DC distribution directly from solar if needed.

This microgrid system holds the potential to transform rural electrification projects around the world. The MEG is a great example of the Center using its expertise and research for technology transfer into a commercially available product.