Distributed generation is a new trend in electric power generation. The concept permits the electricity "consumer", who is generating electricity for their own needs, to send their surplus electrical power back into the power grid.
Many factories, offices and especially hospitals require extremely reliable sources of electricity and heating for air conditioning and hot water. To safeguard their supply and reduce costs, some have installed co-generation or total energy plants, often using waste material, such as wood waste, or surplus heat from an industrial process to generate electricity. In some cases electricity is generated from a locally supplied fuel such as natural gas or diesel oil and the waste heat from the generator's thermal energy source is then used to provide hot water and industrial heating as well. It is often economic to have a co-generation plant when an industrial process requires large amounts of heat that are generated from non-electric sources such as fossil fuels or biomass.
Until recently, regulatory and technology issues meant that domestic consumer-generated electricity could not be easily or safely coupled with the incoming electric power supply. With the advent of extremely reliable power electronics it is becoming economic to install even domestic scale co-generation equipment that produces domestic hot water, home heating and electricity.
Distributed generation is not confined to fossil fuel, with renewable power generation from sources such as windmills. Some countries/regions already have a significant power source in power grid tied windmills.
As there is the potential for major portion of the electricity power supply to come from decentralized power sources, billing and energy credits, generation control and system stability remain significant issues limiting the widespread use of this technology. To maintain control and stability of the power system, the neighbouring consumers need to consume all the electric power that a producing consumer may produce. This ensures there is a net flow of electric power from generators to consumers in the distribution, even though there may be a local outflow within the local distribution.
Smart building - (smart power grid?):
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Distributed electricity power
Decentralized power sources
Inverterss - 230V/115V grid tied or off grid