ABB, the 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize winner in the "Large Corporation" category, is a world leader in various cleantech markets. Now it is diving into the nascent microgrid market.
Very simply, microgrids are small grids that don't really on the borader mix of a large grid in order to bring electricity to the communities and/or businesses they serve. Microgrids can help to improve grid security and reliability in the developed world, but they can also be used to bring electricity access to many of the 1.2 billion without electricity and 1 billion more without access to reliable electricity.
Various forms of low-cost clean energy (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, etc) can serve as the backbone of a microgrid. Being able to rely on local resources, and not pump in expensive fossil fuels, those lacking electricity can really gain it. Electric vehicles and energy storage can also be integrated into the microgrid in order to provide backup when needed.
As a leader in the cleantech industry, it's not a surprise that ABB is taking a pioneering role in this sector. Listen to Maxine Ghavi, the head of ABB's microgrids program and formerly the head of its solar division, talk about the emerging market as well as the solar market: