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Consumer Basics for Renewable Energy


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Presentation by Kelly Lund at Rocky View County's "Small Scale Energy Workshop" November 30, 2011.

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Consumer Basics for Renewable Energy

  1. 1. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Kelly Lund: (780) 644-1197 Ag-Info Line: 310-FARM (3276) Toll Free Line: 310-0000
  2. 2. Consumer Basics…for Renewable EnergySmall Scale Energy Workshop Nov 30, Beiseker Kelly Lund, AARD, (780) 644-1197
  3. 3. What should a Consumer know?• Energy Terminology Basics• Technology Basics – Understand the testing and rating system – Manage expectations• Applicable Requirements for your Area – Permits and approvals – Tax Assessments• Consumer and Contract (Legal) Basics
  4. 4. Terminology
  5. 5. Definitions
  6. 6. Energy• Is the ability of a physical system to do work – like heating a stove element to cook a pot of soup – like pushing a wheelbarrow to the end of the lane Unit: Joule / kW-h
  7. 7. Power• Is the time rate at which work is done or energy is transferred – Heat energy being supplied faster (higher setting) to cook faster – Mechanical energy being supplied faster (walking faster) to move wheelbarrow faster Unit: kW or J/s
  8. 8. Power Rating• “Rated” or “nominal” is based on testing – Assumes a certain input condition (rpm, meters per second wind speed, W per m^2 solar insolation) so you need to know that assumption• It tells me about the instantaneous ability to do work• Using power (kW or HP) over time is what uses energy… ie: kW-hours or HP-hours
  9. 9. First Law of Thermodynamics• Conservation of Energy: – Basically states that energy can’t be created or destroyed, merely transformed between forms • Mechanical/kinetic • Electrical • Heat • Etc – There is always a loss of energy in conversion
  10. 10. Technology
  11. 11. RE Equipment• When we buy RE equipment (solar PV, wind, biomass combustion, etc) it will have a nominal Power Rating in kilowatts (kW) just like a vehicle will have a nominal power rating (usually hp), based on some test done at specified conditions
  12. 12. Capacity Factor• The amount of time a generator is operating at its rated power• Capacity factor results from a combined effect of the FUEL and the EQUIPMENT
  13. 13. Capacity factor• 100% capacity factor means it is operating at rated power 100% of the time, ie: all 8760 hrs in a year• 50% capacity factor means it is operating at rated power 50% of the time, • ie: 100% rated power for only 4380 hrs in a year OR • 50% of rated power for all 8760 hrs in a year
  14. 14. System considerations• Determine their system production:• 1. Click on: ch.php?lang=e&prov=alta 2. Examine the PV Potential chart to find the predicted annual production in kWh. Use the column which says South facing tilt = latitude
  15. 15. • An Example: Sunnynook, Alberta shows an annual production of 1343kWh production for each 1000 watts of solar modules installed facing south and tilted at an angle equivalent to the latitude. The latitude of Sunnynook is listed under the town name, 51.28 degrees.• As a comparison, Little Smoky, Alberta would have a production rate of 1183kWh at an angle of 54.7 degrees, etc.
  16. 16. …I’m going solar!• How would you size a Renewable Energy System?• For grid-connected installations, you are most interested in comparing the annual energy production (versus being concerned about peak requirements)
  17. 17. Sizing a Renewable Energy System1. Look at a year’s worth of electricity bills -if there is little month-to-month variation, you might only look at 2 or 3 months worth and multiply to come up with kWh per year 2. Divide the kWh per year by the number of hours in a year (approx 8760) -this would give you the size (kW) of a generator if it were operating 100% of the time, 24/7, for the entire year
  18. 18. Sizing RE: Quick Example 1. If I use approximately 1500 kWh per monthon my farm, this is 18,000 kWh/yr (1500*12) 2. 18,000 / 8760 = 2.05 = 2 kW
  19. 19. Sizing a Renewable Energy System 3. Account for the Capacity Factor of the chosen RE technology -wind and solar PV actually have similar capacity factors, on the micro side ranging 15 to 30 %Quick Example (assume 23% Cap. Factor): 2 kW / 0.23 = 8.7 kW RE would be requiredDouble check calc: take 8.7 x 8760 x .23 = 17,530
  20. 20. Process
  21. 21. Authority having Jurisdiction• Your county will have the most involvement over what is required for potential RE installs and may require: – Development Permit – Building Permit – etc• Safety Code Legislation requires that all electrical work have an electrical permit
  22. 22. Grid Interconnection• The method of grid interconnection for small scale, offset consumption use is applying to be a Micro-Generator• The company that owns the Distribution lines that come to your property is the Wire Service Provider (WSP). They may do the actual work and maintenance of the lines themselves or subcontract it.• The WSP is involved in directly approving small Micro-Generators of 10 kW or less
  23. 23. Micro-Generation in AlbertaSince January of 2009, inAlberta, you can connect to thedistribution grid to become amicro-generator and get credit forany electricity you export back tothe grid
  24. 24. Micro-Generation in Alberta• Provides a simplified process for connecting your Renewable Energy generator to the grid• Your project has to qualify by meeting the criteria to be a Micro-Generator• If you meet the safety requirements, you cannot be refused connection!• If you are a small or mini size generator, you will be credited for electricity exports at a minimum of your retail rate (what you pay)
  25. 25. Micro-Generation in Alberta• Qualifying: – The type of generator (solar PV, wind, geothermal, combined heat and power, emission based) – Intend to offset up to 100% or less of annual energy consumption – Size of installation (rated kW) is less than size of service entrance transformer (with kVA being approximately equivalent to kW)
  26. 26. Micro-Generation in Alberta• In the example we calculated, we needed about 8.7 kW generator if we wanted to come close to offsetting 100% of the kWh we consume in a year• If my yard transformer was only 7.5 kVA, then I wouldn’t qualify as a Micro-Generator if I applied to install 8.7 kW of generation capacity• BUT, if my yard transformer was a 15 kVa, and I thought I would try to apply to install a 15 kW generator to match, I may also be denied, as the calculation shows I would likely be producing well above 100% of what I would be consuming: 15 kW x 8760 x 0.23 = 30,222 (vs. 18,000)
  27. 27. Purchasing RE Equipment• Buy only equipment that is certified to Canadian Standards for electrical safety• Consider equipment that is certified to Canadian Standards for performance• Make sure you have Micro-Generator approval for the size you are planning to install before you have committed to buying it• Make sure you have done some estimates to predict energy production and economics so that you have realistic expectations
  28. 28. Economics Examples• Solar PV – 1 kW rated system in Edmonton could produce approximately 1100 kWh per year – If I am credited at $0.10 / kWh, I would be saving about $110 per year – If my system cost me $8000 to install, it would take me about 72 years (simple payback) to pay it off from the annual energy savings – Note: Solar is a reasonably predictable resource based only on a general area; site conditions influence
  29. 29. Purchasing RE Equipment• Understand your goals, including saving money, a return on investment, gaining a measure of energy security, self- sufficiency, etc• Be realistic – or even conservative -about the available resource• Be confident in the equipment and retailer / installer that you choose to work with• Know that RE specific financing is available (FCC)• Take advantage of tax benefits using Class 43.1/43.2 accelerated depreciation• Call Alberta Agriculture to get help understanding specific RE topics or working through a project plan
  30. 30. Consumer Basics• Research information on working with contractors – Advice on how to find out if they are licensed and insured – Worker’s Compensation Board coverage – Developing a contract that is clear, and fair for all parties – Warranty issues
  31. 31. Consumer Resources• Farmers’ Advocate Office• Carol Goodfellow Assistant Farmers Advocate Land and Energy 780 427-2350• Graham Gilchrist Assistant Farmers Advocate Rural Affairs 780 427-7956• nfair_Practices_the_Fair_Trading_Act.pdf
  32. 32. Questions?Kelly Lund, Alberta Agriculture in Edmonton: (780) 644-1197 or 310-0000