How the algorithm works? The innovation here is the algorithm's capability to prioritize distribution of power from renewable resources during an outage. The equations take into account forecasts for solar and wind power generation as well as how much energy storage is available, including electric vehicles, batteries and so on. The algorithm combines that information with the amount of energy that the residents are projected to use as well as the amount of energy that a cluster of homes can generate.
The algorithm could also be programmed to include a priority function, based on different parameters. For example, customers who are willing to pay more could get priority to get power during an outage. Or customers who generate more energy than they produce during normal operations would not lose power during an outage. More importantly, the algorithm could give priority to customers who are in urgent need of power, because they use life support equipment, for example, solar mounting structure.
About hardware and storage, researchers investigated what energy storage configuration would work best with their algorithm. Although having energy storage systems in each home leads to optimal performance, most customers preferred to share a community-scale storage system, which dramatically cut down costs.
"Houses connected together are much more resilient during outages," said Raymond de Callafon, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California San Diego, and one of the senior authors of the paper. "They're also more resilient to price fluctuations. They can do a much better job at sharing resources and it benefits every house."
The algorithms work with existing technology but they require each home to be equipped with circuit breakers that can be remotely controlled--and these devices are not yet widespread. Solar mounting system,Utilities also would have to install advanced communications methods that allow the power systems in a residential cluster to talk to one another.
In addition, all homes with solar panels are equipped with inverters, which turn the direct current power generated by the panels into alternating current that can circulate on the grid.
These are so called "grid following" devices, because they can only connect to the grid. To bring together a cluster of homes, each house needs to be equipped with a "grid forming" inverter, which can connect to similar devices at other residences.