Renewables, Distributed Generation, and Microgrids

Our nation has abundant solar, wind, hydro, and biomass energy resources, and a growing number of U.S. companies are installing renewable energy systems which draw upon these resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Technology options for renewable energy are largely predicated by the source of renewables; photovoltaic arrays using solar energy, turbines driven by wind energy, and combined heat and power systems and boilers fueled by biogas and other sources of biomass are all making inroads in U.S. businesses. While biomass applications have been employed for many years in industrial and institutional applications, solar and wind installations are growing in these sectors, and U.S. companies are increasingly embracing the value of renewables as a key part of their energy infrastructure.

While renewable energy facilities are more visible in residential and utility applications, it has been adopted by some of the most vital industries, largest employers, urban centers, and campuses in the United States. Several Better Plants partners use renewable energy to supply heat or power to some of their key plants, and have experienced significant reductions in source energy consumption as a result.

Explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners and connect with the renewables, distributed generation, and microgrids-subject matter expert below.


Learn about innovative, replicable renewables, distributed generation, and microgrid-related solutions and best practices implemented by Better Plants Challenge partners.

Schneider Electric: Solar Field and Continuous Energy Efficiency Improvement

Schneider Electric is advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy at its Smyrna, Tennessee plant through two major initiatives: 1) the construction of a 1 megawatt (MW) solar farm; and 2) a robust energy management program, which includes certification under the Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Program.

Subject Matter Expert - Paul Lemar

Paul Lemar has 30 years of experience in engineering, economic, and environmental analysis of energy efficiency technologies and management practices. He is a Technical Account Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Plants program and has worked with over 25 manufacturing and water/wastewater organizations that are striving to reduce their energy intensity. He directs assessments of CHP, energy efficiency, energy storage, and renewable fuel markets and oversees the development and application of the Distributed Power Economic Rationale Selection (DISPERSE) model. Paul has directed numerous economic feasibility analyses and market studies of onsite power systems, facility energy costs, and energy storage technologies. He is also a noted lecturer and author, and regularly addresses utility, manufacturer, and industrial audiences on topics including combined heat and power, on-site power systems and cogeneration, industrial energy use, efficiency improvement, and new energy technologies. Paul holds a B.S., Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A., both from the University of Maryland.

You can reach Paul with renewables, distributed generation, and microgrids-related questions at