(Ben) Parvey says that for those who value electric reliability, the grid has been making a poor case for itself — from last year’s massive power outage in Texas to the ongoing wildfire-related public safety power shutoffs in California and other less dramatic but frequent power outages. This summer, worry has heightened about the mid-continental states, which the North American Reliability Council says face power capacity shortfalls “resulting in high risk of energy emergencies during peak summer conditions.”
It’s in this atmosphere of concern about grid reliability that Parvey is finding a receptive market to the off-grid concept. OhmGrid launched in May and already has several orders and expects to have its first projects installed this year. The company wants to capture 10,000 customers by 2024, with the eventual goal of 40,000 customers, a point where Parvey hopes the company will qualify to compete with utilities in the JD Power customer satisfaction rankings. Parvey envisions OhmGrid eventually becoming something akin to a national utility — a contemporary version — serving a network of off-grid systems.
Do people fear going off grid? Parvey said he’s not finding that to be the case in his conversations with potential customers. But no doubt, some do. Parvey foresees off-grid technology traversing the path of the cell phone. At first, people were afraid to give up their landlines but eventually did. At the same time, he noted, OhmGrid’s system can be configured to use the grid as backup power if that’s what the customer prefers. The company also leaves open the option for customers to purchase their microgrids outright, rather than participate in an energy-as-a-service program.
“We will help people get off grid at least,” he said.