Newswise — Portable solar-powered microgrids – including photovoltaic collectors, batteries, and a back-up diesel generator, all packaged in a portable container — can provide a rapidly deployable source of mobile power for areas devastated by natural disasters.

A typical containerized microgrid can provide enough electricity to power a command center, small medical facility, public lighting, water treatment, or electrical tools and machinery for seven days without refueling, according to Nathan Johnson, director of the Laboratory for Energy and Power Solutions (LEAPS) at Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

In addition to disaster relief microgrid systems, Johnson and his team have been developing rapidly deployable infrastructure for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the World Bank for use in refugee centers, forward deployed camps, and off-grid remote villages that have no access to power, water or communications.

Johnson is available to speak about how microgrids work, the functions they serve in disaster relief operations, the practical implications of deployment to remote or austere areas, and what new services, like kitchen facilities and medical services, are being incorporated into the next wave of containerized microgrids.


Nathan Johnson

Assistant Professor, Polytechnic School, Arizona State University

Director, Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS)