Combined Heat and Power
CHP system development begins with a preliminary engineering analysis. This analysis includes an assessment of the facility’s recent electric and natural gas utility bills to determine whether CHP will be a good fit for the building and to estimate system size. Conventional CHP systems can range from 50 kW at a 200-unit apartment building to 5 MW or more at a large hospital. Micro CHP systems (less than 50 kW) can be a good fit for smaller facilities including multi-family residential buildings and fast casual restaurants, or facilities where domestic hot water is the primary heating load. Properly sized systems operate to balance electricity generation with CHP efficiency to maximize cost effectiveness. Systems are often sized for continuous, or base, electrical load of the facility, and CHP can displace more than half of a building’s electric consumption from the grid.
The existing building systems have a strong impact on the type of CHP system installed. All size ranges of reciprocating internal combustion engines and micro-turbines are compatible with building hot water systems. If there is a need to produce steam, the CHP prime mover required has a higher electrical output, and additional external heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) equipment is required.
Costs and savings are estimated as part of the preliminary analysis. The overall savings achieved will be influenced by the prevailing utility rates for natural gas and purchased electricity. CHP systems provide savings at a rate slightly lower than the average cost of energy, with a rule-of-thumb that CHP electricity and natural gas savings occur at 85% of the average cost of energy for the host facility. The system complexity, which drives either low upfront costs or stronger long-term savings over the equipment’s lifetime, also has a large impact on system cost effectiveness. Finally, CHP system maintenance charges must also be accounted for. CHP maintenance varies with the type and complexity of the system, but typically ranges from 1.5¢ to 3.0¢ per kWh produced.
NYSERDA maintains a growing list of pre-approved CHP vendors who analyze, install, and maintain CHP systems in New York State at or above industry standards. The Combined Heat and Power Catalog (PON 2568), which gives details on pre-approved vendors and equipment.
After a preliminary CHP analysis and/or detailed technical review, facility owners and operators can determine which vendors offer the equipment and service they desire.
Search by Developer/Installer in the Performance Data tab to learn more about CHP systems already installed by each vendor.
The next step is to invite vendors to tour your site. The vendors will collect information about the electrical and thermal equipment and distribution in your facility, and analyze historic utility billing data as a starting point for sizing your CHP system. For more accurate sizing, it may be necessary to collect a short period of interval electrical and thermal load data using temporary monitoring equipment. Based on the information collected, the vendors will develop a CHP design and pro-forma CHP economic model that describes the annual performance and savings calculations for your system.
Bids from multiple vendors should be compared to understand the range of systems and options applicable to your facility. While vendor offerings may vary widely, the proposed vendor bids should be examined for the following;
- Annual CHP efficiency > 60%
- Annual capacity factor > 60%
- Simple payback, including all CHP fuel consumption and maintenance charges < 10 years
- Does the CHP system meet my resiliency needs? How does black start operation function (automatic, or manual intervention required)? What circuits are included for emergency power?
The NY-Sun Incentive Program provides a step-by-step guide on the solar installation process.
Other DER technologies typically require custom development of projects. For more information, see program links under your technology of interest on About DER.
Find a Contractor
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Consult NYSERDA’s comprehensive list of Contractors to assist with your energy saving project planning and implementation.
Become a Vendor
Learn about the process to become a NYSERDA-approved vendor.