NYTimes writes about a patent awarded to Dr. Anand Rangarajan and his colleague, Thomas McNulty, both of WorldWater Corporation, a solar-energy technology company in Pennington, NJ. The patent is for having invented a system for switching to backup solar power within seconds of a power failure.
The technology was first developed not with urban New Yorkers in mind but, rather, California farmers. With a state economy beset by an energy crisis in recent years, farmers in California have suffered blackouts at the worst times: on hot, dry days when crops most need to be irrigated by electrically powered systems.
Dr. Rangarajan and Mr. McNulty have essentially patented a box that combines switches and electrical circuits, permitting a supple integration between solar and electrical power. When the power grid is supplying electricity normally, the box routes excess power to the utility. If the power grid goes down, the box shuts off its connection with the utility, reconfigures voltages and routes electricity back to the irrigation system.
This permits current to keep flowing, but not along the power grid, which for safety considerations must not have any current moving on it while it is being repaired.
This seems to be exactly what the Indian farmers would also need! We should talk to WorldWater for RISC’s energy options.