A Nevada utility company has put a 3 percent cap on the number of its customers that can get credit called net metering for supplying power from their rooftop solar cells to the grid. Experts anticipate that Nevada Energy customers will reach that ceiling by the end of the year. The companies who are leasing solar units to residential customers want the cap increased. The energy company doesn’t—its parent company is in Iowa.

How can we balance these interests and work toward integrating renewable energy sources into the power structure? Electrical engineering assistant professor Reinaldo Tonkoski of South Dakota State University is developing algorithms to manage power in microgrids that make integrating a variety of sources into an energy system possible. “Local people can get into the energy business. If utilities do not adapt to this new energy market, they will lose business to these new companies,” he said.

Contact him at (605) 695-2780 or [email protected]. See more background on his work at http://www.sdstate.edu/index/directory/directory-detail.cfm?ci=3498.