On-site energy generation is rapidly growing in popularity for businesses of all sizes, providing an alternative to grid electricity, which has seen large cost increases over recent years, mainly due to rapidly growing non-commodity costs. However, many still think of on-site technology options in terms of electricity generation from solar photovoltaic panels or wind turbines.
In reality, the rapid march of renewable and energy efficiency technology means that there is a wide range of options available to offset both electricity and other fuel imports, allowing organisations to shop around to find a solution that fits their wider objectives and available budget.
Heat pumps draw latent heat from the ground or outside air before transferring it to radiators, underfloor heating systems, hot water systems or air convectors. While they consume some electricity in the process of extracting heat, they typically consume around half to one sixth of the electricity used conventional electric heating. Heat pumps can also compete economically with fuel oil and LPG heating systems and can earn subsidies through the Renewable Heat Incentives, but they require modifications to conventional heat distribution systems and struggle to compete against the low cost of natural gas.
Unlike on-site biomass heating systems, heat pumps do not require regular fuel deliveries and are generally lower maintenance. Air source pumps are cheaper and simpler to install as they do not require the groundworks associated with ground source pumps, however, they are generally not as efficient. For both technologies, the heating efficiency they achieve can have a significant impact both on energy costs and overall carbon footprint.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology uses a single fuel source, usually natural gas, to generate both electricity and heat. This efficient approach to generating energy can save up to 20% on total bills for the right business, enabling them to generate electricity on-site while harnessing waste heat from the generator to offset other heating needs on the site.
One of the fastest-growing energy management technologies currently available, battery storage technology has seen rapid improvements both in capacity and falling costs.
A flexible technology that can be used in a number of ways, battery storage can ensure that existing on-site generation, such as solar PV, delivers the best possible return on investment, storing excess energy generated during sunny periods and allowing you to access it later, such as overnight or during peak periods.
Even for businesses without on-site generation, batteries offer considerable energy cost savings by allowing power to be purchased and stored during off-peak periods to access lower electricity and network prices. The stored power is then used later to reduce energy drawn from the grid during peak periods. However, any investment decisions need to consider changes to peak charging methodologies that are currently being reviewed by Ofgem.
A number of solutions are now available that reduce the total amount of energy your business uses, without impacting on overall productivity or requiring changes in activity patterns or behaviour.
One example is voltage optimisation, which regulates your incoming power supply, reducing the voltage to the optimal level required for on-site electrical equipment and appliances.
Power is generally supplied at a higher voltage than is necessary for modern equipment, resulting in substantial wasted energy. Voltage optimisation helps to reduce consumption without impacting on productivity, bringing with it cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. However, the savings are dependent on both the existing supply voltage and the type of equipment used on your site.
Power factor correction is another process that may provide savings, particularly for Industrial users. Installing correction equipment can provide direct savings from ‘reactive power charges’ as well as reducing losses in your electrical system.
With each technology able to integrate into a wider energy efficiency strategy, choosing the right solution from such a wide array of options can be difficult. To find out how Inenco’s energy specialists can help to guide you through this process to deliver the technology solutions that best suit your business, contact us on 08451 46 36 26.