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About Distributed Energy Resources

What is a Distributed Energy Resource?

Distributed energy resources (DER) are technologies that generate or manage the demand of electricity at different points of the grid, such as at homes and businesses, instead of exclusively at power plants. They allow owners to reduce their facilities’ carbon footprints, rein in energy costs, and improve utility grid power-outage resiliency.

DER systems can serve a facility, campus, or micro-grid of unrelated buildings through a single technology or hybrid system. Strong candidates can include commercial and manufacturing facilities, university campuses, multi-family residential buildings, and municipalities.

Thermal and/or electric energy generated on-site can be used immediately. Alternatively, the energy can be stored in batteries or thermal storage systems to be called upon later for load smoothing or during a grid outage. Off-site DER, like community solar, allows virtual offset of energy for space-constrained facilities.

DER Technologies

This is a list of DER technologies that provide performance on this site, and if applicable, the NYSERDA funding provider for each technology.

  • Anaerobic digester gas (ADG) projects utilize biogases available through sewage water recovery, dairy farm waste, and food waste to generate electricity at or near the point-of-use.

    NYSERDA will launch a new ADG opportunity in 2018. Visit NYSERDA’s Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Program page for the latest information.

  • Combined heat and power (CHP), or cogeneration, simultaneously generates thermal and electrical energy from a single fuel source. By recycling valuable heat from the combustion process, CHP results in far greater efficiencies than centralized power generation. The recovered thermal energy from on-site CHP systems may be used for industrial processes, space heating, domestic hot water, or cooling through an absorption chiller.

    NYSERDA’s CHP Program provides funding and technical assistance for CHP systems. Click here for our primer on CHP.

  • On-site energy storage, including batteries, allows facility owners to lower their costs by storing cheaper energy for use when electricity costs are high. This includes storing electricity purchased during periods of low demand to use during peak hours, or similarly storing energy generated by solar panels during the day for use later. Energy storage can be used during grid outages and is a critical component in the manufacturing, service, and renewable energy industries.

    Visit NYSERDA’s Energy Storage site for more information on opportunities, technical assistance, and information for vendors, researchers, and others.

  • Fuel cells use an electrochemical process to convert a fuel’s energy to electricity without combustion. Fuel cell uses include portable power generation, stationary power generation, and power for transportation.

    Learn more about NYSERDA’s support for stationary fuel cells.

  • Wind turbines convert kinetic energy in the wind to clean, carbon-free electric energy. Unlike the large versions that supply energy to the utility grid, small wind turbines can be used on-site if conditions are right.

    Visit NYSERDA’s Small Wind Turbine Program page for more information on the opportunities available to small wind.

  • Solar panels, which are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, convert sunlight into electricity without creating noise, air, or water pollution. If connected to the grid, utilities offer compensation for excess electricity generated by solar panels but not used on-site.

    This site only provides performance data for commercial and industrial solar installations. To see information on all distributed solar in New York visit the NY-Sun data page.

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative is making solar energy more accessible to homes, businesses, and communities across New York through incentives and financing opportunities. Visit the NY-Sun site for more information.

  • Hybrid DER projects have two or more energy technologies working on one site that work in synergy to provide more benefits than two separate projects. For example, solar projects combined with energy storage technologies can save excess energy generated from the solar panels during the middle of the day, which can be used in the late afternoon and evening.

    While NYSERDA does not currently provide funding specifically for hybrid systems, many programs and initiatives can be combined, and others provide additional funding if technologies are paired. Visit NYSERDA’s web site for a full list of programs and services.

DER in New York State

Explore the Map and Performance Data Data tabs to see the results of successful DER deployment throughout New York State. These sites have received funding by NYSERDA and provide performance data for display.