Mariposa County community gets its own remote power grid

BRICEBURG, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Mariposa County community that was hit hard by a wildfire in 2019 now has its own remote power grid.

PG&E partnered with a developer called BoxPower to install the standalone power source. Officials say it will help prevent fires and public safety power shutoffs.

The new power grid in the community of Briceburg will provide permanent power using hybrid solar, battery, and a generator standalone system.

Officials say it's the first of its kind in North America, and it will be used as a test case.

Bennett Chabot with PG&E says they will be able to remotely monitor the system through satellite.

"You have a chance to think new - you got a blank slate, and the stark realities of what the future needs being very different from the past have pointed us in this direction," says Chabot.

The system was strategically placed in Briceburg after a 2019 wildfire took out the distribution line serving this small community. Power was disrupted, poles were burned, and wires were down.

According to Box Power, the grid will also reduce maintenance costs in comparison to the traditional electrical distribution line.

"Instead of rebuilding that costly and still risky line, we can meet all the needs year-round from this system," says Chabot.

PG&E often utilizes public safety power shut-offs during hot, dry, windy conditions.

Chabot says this system is designed to stay on if the company has to do those power shut-offs.

This is the first grid for PG&E as a part of its 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.

The company is projecting a target of 20 more remote grid sites by the end of 2022.

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