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A Surprise to Analysts: Less CHP in Microgrids, More Solar

By District Energy posted 10-18-2018 00:00


Lisa Cohn, Microgrid Knowledge


Combined heat and power (CHP) provides year-round baseload energy in microgrids — something renewable resources don’t do. Yet solar PV now overshadows CHP in planned microgrid projects, according to a new microgrid database by ICF.

“We see a lot of installed CHP systems in operating microgrids; it’s the largest technology in terms of capacity,” said David Jones, ICF’s manager and analyst for CHP/DER/microgrid markets and applications. “We were surprised to not see as much CHP in the plannedmicrogrids.”

The reason? Microgrid developers are moving away from fossil fuels, Jones said. Instead, they’re installing solar and energy storage. Or others choose simpler, power-only natural gas generation, as opposed to CHP.

Cost might be a factor, said Jones. It’s possible those who are developing microgrid projects think CHP is too expensive to incorporate.

CHP is a resource that ICF carefully follows — it has been updating the Department of Energy’s CHP Installation Database for over a decade.

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