Urgent Alert

Community microgrids

Secure energy resilience for your community and its critical facilities

Community microgrid 


If your community is seeking energy resilience for extreme weather, Public Safety Power Shutoff events or other outages, PG&E’s community microgrid programs can help. Through financial and technical support, the Community Microgrid Enablement Program (CMEP) and Microgrid Incentive Program (MIP) can help you take your community’s energy resilience ideas from concept to reality.


What is a community microgrid?


Community Microgrid Enablement Program Infographic.


A community microgrid is a group of customers and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) within clearly defined electrical boundaries with the ability to disconnect from and reconnect to the grid.


These microgrids are typically designed to provide energy resilience to important community facilities, such as:


  • Hospitals
  • Police and fire stations
  • Gas stations and markets


The microgrid provides a source of localized power for when the larger grid is down. Those sources of localized power, such as a solar photovoltaic (PV) system and battery, can be owned by third parties. And, they can participate in wholesale markets for energy and related services. PG&E will continue to own and operate the distribution system on which the microgrid capability is built.


A range of factors determines the size of the microgrid footprint, what community facilities to serve and what elements to include in the design. PG&E Resilience Coordinators will assist in determining if a community microgrid is the right solution for your needs and will describe the process to develop one.


Planning for a community microgrid 


A community microgrid involves deep technical and contractual collaboration with the utility and can take 3-5 years or more to develop. Key players that you will eventually need to assemble as part of your team include:


  • Local government or tribal government leadership
  • Community-based organization(s)
  • Technical / engineering firms

Identify Potential Partners

See PG&E’s Leap into MIP Resources webinar, recorded February 29, 2024, intended to help you identify potential technical partners.

Contact us

Email us at communitymicrogrids@pge.com to begin the conversation and learn more.

*Each project is unique and will follow its own timeframe. These estimates are provided as guidelines only.

Download Microgrid Incentive Program Handbook.

Financial incentives and allowances


PG&E offers two programs, CMEP and MIP, that work together to fund all aspects of a community microgrid. They support the development of clean community microgrids in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities (DVCs). You can apply for either one individually, or for both programs together.

Microgrid Incentive Program (MIP) Overview

Learn how a community microgrid can provide a layer of energy resilience, and how the Microgrid Incentive Program (MIP) can assist with project development and help your community pay for it.

MIP 5 Stages

Take a deeper dive into the 5 program stages to create a community microgrid, from initial consultation through to operation.

Ready to learn more?


We welcome you to view one of our webinars to learn more about the Microgrid Incentive Program.

MIP Informational Webinar - October 17, 2023

MIP Technical Webinar - October 24, 2023

View the Q&A from these webinars (PDF)

Identify Potential Partners

See PG&E’s Leap into MIP Resources webinar, recorded February 29, 2024, intended to help you identify potential technical partners.



Is my project eligible for Community Microgrid Enablement Program (CMEP) and Microgrid Incentive Program (MIP) funding?


MIP uses a competitive application process, and therefore eligibility for MIP does not guarantee MIP funding. MIP applications will be scored on community, resilience and environmental benefits, as described in the MIP Handbook. CMEP funding, on the other hand, is available to any eligible project which proceeds through the necessary steps.


To be eligible for CMEP and/or MIP, a proposed project must:


  • Meet at least one requirement in section A
  • Meet at least one requirement in section B
  • Meet all technical requirements in section C

Section A: Vulnerable to outages

Project must be in one of the following areas:


  • Tier 2 or 3 High-Fire Threat District
  • Area that experienced prior PSPS outage(s)
  • Elevated earthquake risk zone
  • Locations with lower historical reliability


The local or tribal government leadership may be able to justify other forms of vulnerability.

Section B: Disadvantaged and vulnerable community

Project must be in a DVC (one of 4 criteria below), or power a critical community facility that primarily serves a DVC:


  • Census tracts with median household incomes less than 60% of state median
  • California Native American Tribal Community
  • Community with highest risk per CalEnviroScreen
  • A rural area

Section C: Technical eligibility

Project must:



Project resources must:

  • Interconnect on a distribution line that is at 50kV or below.
  • Comply with the emissions standards adopted by the State Air Resources Board pursuant to the distributed generation certification program requirements of Section 94203 of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, or any successor regulation.
  • Have aggregate emissions, along with non-Project Resources, no greater than equivalent grid power when operating in Island Mode. Energy storage that is charged with grid power will be deemed to have the emissions equivalent of the average system emissions for the Utility

Frequently asked questions

Who owns a community microgrid?
Different elements of a community microgrid are owned by different entities. The Project Resources, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and batteries, may be owned by:


  • The community
  • A Community Choice Aggregator (CCA)
  • Another third party

PG&E, as the distribution system operator, will own any distribution upgrades and microgrid special facilities, such as the microgrid controller and grid isolation devices.

How is interconnection of the community microgrid project resource(s) handled?
Each Project Resource (e.g., solar pv system and battery) is required to interconnect to PG&E’s system. This occurs according to either Rule 21 or the Wholesale Distribution Tariff. The interconnection process is handled independently from the microgrid development process and can take significant time. However, investing time during the Consultation process to appropriately size your microgrid and specify its Project Resources will pay dividends. It can prevent rework and resubmittal of interconnection applications. When you are ready to get started, visit Getting Started Guide for Electric Generator Interconnections (PDF, 314 KB) and speak with your PG&E Resilience Coordinator.


May the owner of the project resource continue selling energy, even when the microgrid is islanded?
Yes. The microgrid’s Project Resources, such as a solar photovoltaic (pv) system and battery, can participate in wholesale markets for energy and related services both when the microgrid is operating in parallel with the larger grid (“blue sky mode”), and when disconnected from the larger grid (“island mode”). Speak to your interconnection liaison to understand your options.

Will I experience an outage when my meter switches to the microgrid battery? Will I know when I'm on microgrid mode?

It depends. Some microgrids are designed for “seamless” transition, during which no outage may be experienced. Other microgrid designs necessitate a “break before make” configuration, in which a brief outage may be experienced before the Project Resource energizes the microgrid.

How might electric vehicles be integrated into a community microgrid to support load balancing and bolster resiliency?
The CPUC has approved PG&E’s request for a Vehicle-to-Microgrid Public Safety Power Shutoff Microgrid Pilot (Microgrids Pilot). Over the coming years, this pilot will demonstrate customer adoption of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology for community resiliency, among other benefits. The project will include up to 200 EVs to charge and discharge in a multi-customer microgrid to support community resiliency. Please contact a PG&E Resilience Coordinator for more information.

Will the community still be a part of PG&E’s electric grid?

Yes, the community microgrid will be seamlessly connected to the broader grid most of the time. The community microgrid will go into island mode and operate independently only when the utility grid is unavailable. For the safety and stability of the grid, PG&E retains operational control over the islanding status of the microgrid.


What types of outages will the community microgrid provide back-up support for?

It depends on the specific design of the microgrid. Generally, microgrids can be designed to address a wide range of potential causes of outages such as PSPS events, earthquakes, grid maintenance work and grid failures. Your technical partner and PG&E can help advise on vulnerabilities in your area and microgrid design options to help mitigate the potential for outages.


Will the Project Resources sell energy directly to the customers within the microgrid?

The Community Microgrid Aggregator may not directly sell power to customers within the microgrid. However, front of the meter resources can participate in the CAISO wholesale markets for energy and related services during Blue Sky and Island Modes. The revenue generated from those sales will accrue to the community or their designated partner.


Do energy rates change with a microgrid?

The existence of a microgrid, by itself, will not modify customer energy rates for those customers within the microgrid boundary compared to similarly situated customers outside of the boundary. Customers within the microgrid still receive service from PG&E, or a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA), or a Direct Access (DA) provider. Customers will be metered and billed according to their selected rate plan, whether the microgrid is operating in Blue Sky Mode or Island Mode.

What is the CPUC's Clean Energy Access Grants Program and how does it relate to MIP?

The Clean Energy Access (CEA) Grant Account will award grants up to $500,000 for work that will address access to or education about the Microgrid Incentive Program (MIP), Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), and Technology and Equipment for Clean Heating Initiative (TECH).

Due to the highly technical nature of the SGIP, MIP and TECH, the CPUC will provide technical assistance for applicants as well as for grantees. A Clean Energy Subject Matter Expert (SME) will provide technical assistance based on the needs of the Tribe’s or CBO’s community.

For technical assistance requests related to the CEA Grant account, contact the Business and Community Outreach Office at capacitygrants@cpuc.ca.gov.


What communities have benefited from microgrids so far?

PG&E has deployed multiple microgrids on its distribution system. Our first community microgrid, of the type funded by CMEP and MIP, is the Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid. This microgrid is California’s first 100% renewable energy, front-of-the-meter, multi-customer microgrid. It provides enhanced energy resilience for the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station. It was developed in collaboration among PG&E, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Cal Poly Humboldt, Schweitzer Engineering Labs, the County of Humboldt, The Energy Authority and TRC.


Can my community develop a microgrid via these programs if we have a local CCA or buy power from a WAPA or a municipal utility?

You may develop a microgrid if your community is served by a local Community Choice Aggregator (CCA). A CCA procures electricity on behalf of retail customers. However, with few exceptions, all customers within the boundary of a community microgrid must be PG&E retail distribution customers, pertaining to the delivery of said electricity. WAPA customers generally do not meet this requirement. See the provisions of the Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff and speak to your PG&E Resilience Coordinator if you have further questions.

Additional resources

Contact us

For additional information or to get started with a community microgrid, email communitymicrogrids@pge.com.