If someone launched a cyberattack on the utility company supplying your power, how would that impact your business? Cyberattacks against utilities occur more often than you might think. And they’re growing in complexity. Investing in a Microgrid is an ideal way to protect your business’s resiliency from revenue loss due to power outages, whatever the source.
How Solar Microgrids Can Power You Through Utility Blackouts
A Microgrid allows you to operate independently of your utility company’s power supply. While there are other types of power grids, solar-powered Microgrids are very popular because they’re a renewable energy resource. They capture the sun’s energy and distribute it cleanly into your building.
“A Microgrid connects to the grid at a point of common coupling that maintains voltage at the same level as the main grid unless there is some sort of problem on the grid or other reason to disconnect,” explains the U.S. Department of Energy. You can have a switch installed that will separate the Microgrid from the primary grid. This switch is designed to do it automatically or manually.
If you own a big business and worry if a solar Microgrid can power large buildings, rest assured they can. Many people don’t realize that ships, military bases, and remote outposts have been using their own forms of Microgrids for years.
Cyberattacks on Utility Companies
Now, let’s revisit why you might want a Microgrid run on solar by looking at what’s currently happening in the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is still ongoing. According to S&P Global, U.S. utilities are preparing for a potential cyberattack from Russia because Russia is very unhappy with the sanctions the U.S. imposed after it invaded Ukraine.
Every organization in the U.S. is advised to look out for potential cyber threats that could disrupt public life and safety.
Phishing attacks and ransomware attacks are pretty common. According to a November 2021 report, phishing attacks against the energy industry went up 161% in the year prior. Meanwhile, the number of ransomware attacks can be hard to determine because businesses will often pay the ransom instead of disclosing their business suffered an attack.
One area of particular concern is the hardware and software that control a utility’s infrastructure. Many operational technologies were designed decades back and aren’t equipped to handle modern cybersecurity threats.
Why You Need a Solar Microgrid and Not Just a Solar Electric System
Many people think regular solar modules protect them should their utility company experience a power outage, but that’s not necessarily true. You still need a voltage source to sync to for the solar to work. Often that source comes through your local utility. But with a solar Microgrid, you are set up for power regardless of what’s going on with your power utility.
Benefits of Solar Microgrids
Solar Microgrids connect to main grids. However, when a disruption is about to occur, their software can automatically disconnect from the primary grid and start relying solely on their solar Microgrid.
Other benefits include:
- Enhancement of your resiliency should a cyberattack (or even bad weather) affect your utility (even utility companies are reportedly considering installing microgrids at their headquarters to help restore power to their customers faster).
- A boost to your cybersecurity – for example, larger businesses or communities with more than one Microgrid are protected because even if one is attacked, the others aren’t and can still provide power.
- Economic value – you don’t experience a loss of production when power outages occur during workdays.
- Improves well-being in your community – should a power outage affect your community, you can step in to help and assist your neighbors, boosting the morale of your employees who most likely live in the neighborhood.
- They’re better for the environment – your business can meet its clean energy goals with solar Microgrids.
- A decrease in the stress level on main power grids during peak energy usage – they act as an additional resource for power during these times.
Solar Microgrids have many other benefits for businesses, including lower energy costs and potential tax breaks.
Give Your Business More Resiliency
Investing in a solar Microgrid makes your business more resilient and less reliant on others. Your employees will take pride in knowing you’re doing something good for the environment, and you will have peace of mind knowing that even if the primary power grid shuts down, your operations can continue.