The Microgrid Systems Lab is structured as four synergistic programs: Research, Innovation, Demonstration, and Education (RIDE). These programmatic pillars house various projects, and are supported by a range of program Partners and MSL Member institutions, drawn from a broad range of relevant sectors.
For more information on Partner, Member, and Research Network opportunities, please contact us.
MSL’s research activities focus on collaborative approaches to key scientific and technical issues in distributed energy systems. Collaborators include members of the MSL Research Network and others as appropriate. As a major focus of its research program, MSL is a Primary Partner and serves on the Management Team of the New Mexico SMART Grid Center, a $20 million National Science Foundation funding award for a state-wide grid modernization consortium (three research universities, two national labs, MSL). The Center is investigating decentralized architectures for utility distribution feeders and associated communications, controls, and decision support factors.
MSL’s innovation program features cross-sector collaboration (including utility, manufacturing, ICT, systems integration, regulatory, policy, business model, and finance perspectives) to advance market and ecosystem innovation. This work includes technical, conceptual, and experimental components, with a global scope, using MSL’s expanded resource and facilities network.
Current projects include the Energy Sovereignty Institute for Native American communities, and an associated workshop and resource-base website for New Mexico tribal energy stakeholders; a Grid Modernization Technology Accelerator in development; and planning for a “reciprocal innovation” approach to accelerating microgrid innovation by cross-fertilizing energy thought leadership from the developing and industrial economies through a 2022 pilot workshop in Africa.
MSL founding member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) is developing two microgrids with MSL’s guidance, which will serve as demonstration facilities, while also supporting education (see below), testing, and research. The first is a “nanogrid” dedicated to the new greenhouse and controlled growing environment at SFCC, which is currently in its initial deployment phase and will house the main microgrid classroom. The second, currently in engineering assessment, will be a full campus-wide microgrid spanning all energy and water assets. Siemens Industry is the project engineering partner on both, with a nanogrid conceptual design from MSL member The National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
MSL serves as Project Director on the Resilient El Rito community resilience microgrid project, currently in design and planning stages with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Northern New Mexico Community College, and Camus Energy. This will include “nested” or networked microgrids on the NNMC campus and KCEC’s distribution feeder serving the entire village, with a workforce training component at the college, and with technical assistance from Sandia National Laboratories.
MSL advises its founding member Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in developing the Smart and Microgrid Training Center (SMTC), that will provide technical training, ongoing development for industry professionals, custom training for industry, and upper-level courses and advanced degrees through university partnerships, along with “train the trainer” offerings for global deployments.
SFCC’s distributed energy systems programs, co-founded with MSL, have received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the state of New Mexico, and Santa Fe County, and through the NM SMART Grid Center for a full-time faculty member now leading the SMTC.
MSL also produced and directed the first two state-wide Distributed Energy Summits for the NM SMART Grid Center, the Summit for Distributed Energy Systems Workforce in 2020 and the NM Clean Energy Transition Summit in 2021.
MSL currently has the following collaborating member institutions:
- Los Alamos National Laboratory*
- Sandia National Laboratories*
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory*
- Center for Emerging Energy Technologies at the University of New Mexico*
- Alaska Center for Energy and Power* and Alaska Microgrid Group
- The Energy and Resources Institute* (India)
- Duke Energy
- Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
- Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities
- City of Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Camus Energy
- HOMER Energy
- General MicroGrids
- Modern Grid Solutions
- SteamaCo (Kenya)
- Santa Fe Community College
- The Clean Coalition
- Advanced Energy Centre at the MaRS Discovery District (Canada)
- Smart Cities Council
*Indicates members of the MSL research center network.
The research center network is an international group of research centers, affiliated public ministries and agencies, and existing research partnerships and networks, working in the microgrid or minigrid domain, and on related technologies and topics. MSL member institutions cooperate in this regard by:
- Sharing the results of their non-proprietary work
- Joining collaborative project or program teams
- Acting as local experts and affiliates in their geographic home regions
- Engaging in joint technology transfer and commercialization when desired
- Supporting MSL’s efforts to establish international standards
- Participating in MSL conferences, colloquia, and workshop