COVID-19 Pandemic Could Drive Strong Demand for Microgrid Technology

With recent disasters, there’s a groundswell of interest for microgrids.

All thanks to demand for resiliency, and far better energy security at all times. When a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico in early January 2020, and a 5.9-magnitude earthquake days later, Puerto Rico was left without electricity. However, microgrids continued to run. Microgrids could have even helped California after PG&E deliberately shut off power, as the company battled high winds, and wildfire conditions.

Nowadays, with COVID-19 straining hospitals and food distribution systems, keeping the power on is key with all of the demand. “There are a million warnings out there on a million serious things. We add one: Everything works—and will continue to work—as long as we have electricity. It’s what keeps the lights on, the oxygen flowing, the information going. Everything is the grid, the grid, the grid,” notes The Wall Street Journal.

In short, disasters remind us just how important electricity – and generators truly are. That’s creating sizable, exciting opportunity for top companies like CleanSpark, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSK), Solaredge Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:SEDG), Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP) (TSX:BLDP), Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:AEIS), and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).

CleanSpark, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSK) BREAKING NEWS: CleanSpark, Inc., a diversified software and intelligent energy services company today announced that it has secured a $577,000 purchase order for its intelligent automatic transfer switch (ATS) switchgear. The Company’s intelligent ATS switchgear is used to automatically transfer power supply from a primary source to a backup source when it senses a failure or outage in the primary source, thus assuring uninterrupted power. It also allows the end user with surplus energy generation the opportunity to participate in regional energy markets when it makes financial sense to sell power back to the grid. The units underlying this purchase order are expected to be shipped over the next two fiscal quarters.

“CleanSpark’s units will be integrated into natural gas powered microgrids to provide resilient power to grocery stores. Resilient power to support essential businesses is critical now more than ever in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Grid related power outages can be increasingly disruptive to business operations and have drastic impact on essential customer access. The client issuing today’s purchase order is the same organization that contracted with CleanSpark in January for more than $1.6 million in ATS switchgear. We expect to continue to receive a significant number of orders for additional units during the next few years in order to meet the increasing demand for resilient back-up energy solutions.” said CEO Zach Bradford.

Other related developments from around the markets include:

Solaredge Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:SEDG) received JET certification (Japan Electrical Safety and Environment Technology Laboratory). Specifically designed to comply with Japanese market requirements, the inverter is now available for low-voltage commercial and residential PV installations. The JET certification extends for five years and covers the new anti-islanding function requirements for multiple inverters and reactive power oscillation suppression. With a long-term commitment to the Japanese market, SolarEdge has opened a technical and testing center in Yokohama that evaluates the grid protection function of SolarEdge inverters according to JEC9701 and JET certification test methods. SolarEdge’s JET certified 5.5kW single phase inverter with HD-Wave technology has increased power density, record-breaking 99% weighted efficiency, and a competitively small size and weight, at only 12.3kg. The inverter has a 0.95 power factor, supports up to 200% oversizing for increased production, and features SolarEdge’s built-in SafeDC for enhanced safety.

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP)(TSX:BLDP) announced a purchase order from Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., a leading European bus and trolleybus manufacturer and Ballard partner headquartered in Bolechowo, Poland, for 25 of the Company’s new 70 kilowatt heavy-duty FCmove-HD fuel cell modules. These 25 modules will power 15 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses planned for deployment in Cologne, Germany and 10 Urbino 12 hydrogen buses planned for deployment in Wuppertal, Germany, all under the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe funding program. The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen model Fuel Cell Electric Bus (FCEB) – capable of traveling 350 kilometers on a single hydrogen refueling – was introduced in 2019. The bus incorporates an axle with two electric motors and is equipped with a climate control system utilizing heat generated by the fuel cell module. Shipments of the 25 FCmove-HD modules to Solaris will begin in 2020 and extend into 2021 to match the timing for the bus builds and deployments.

Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:AEIS) announced that its newest facility in Penang, Malaysia has begun commercial operations and started to deliver products to our customers. Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia on the country’s northwest coast by the Malacca Strait, the state of Penang has long served as an important outlet to the markets of Europe and the Middle East, making it an ideal location for Advanced Energy’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. “These are exciting times for us as we expand in Southeast Asia to meet the region’s growing presence in technology production,” said Neil Brinker, executive vice president and COO of Advanced Energy. “With our global customer base and broad portfolio of precision power products, we continuously evaluate ways to optimize our production footprint and how to best serve our customers. The new facility in Penang will not only enable us to get physically closer to many of our customers in the region but also provide greater business continuity and redundancy."

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced the order of two high-efficiency and lower emission power units to be constructed through consortium at the Polska Grupa Energetyczna Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna’s (PGE) Dolna Odra Power Plant in the Western Pomerania region of Poland. The order will include two GE 9HA.01 gas turbines, along with two STF-D650 steam turbines, two generators and two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG)* providing up to 1.4 gigawatt (GW) of power at Dolna Odra—the equivalent needed to power approximately 1 million Polish households. The order will further stabilize the regional grid, which heavily utilizes variable onshore and offshore wind farms currently.  “PGE's investment in Dolna Odra Power Plant based on gas fuel is our contribution to preparing the Polish power system for further development of renewable energy, in particular wind energy," said Wojciech Dabrowski, President of the Management Board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna.

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