Successfully installing a CHP system is a complex task that requires skill and knowledge in a wide range of disciplines including engineering, construction, plumbing, wiring, and environmental compliance. For this reason, it is wise to partner with contractor or project developer who has experience with CHP systems. It is likely that the engineering firm that assisted with your Investment-Grade Analysis will be able to provide names of some qualified firms. If not, you can Contact Us for ideas.
A wide range of options is available for financing CHP projects, including a bank loan, leasing, partnership, joint venture, vendor financing, energy savings performance contract, utility program, end-use purchase, bonds, grants, enhanced leasing, and appropriations. The options should be fully investigated to see which one will provide the best solution for your business environment. Please see our Project Financing page for more details and explanations on each of these options.
There will likely be a number of permits required to proceed with a CHP installation. The number and complexity will vary depending on the size and scope of the project. However, some of the more common ones include emissions, interconnection (connecting to the grid), and construction.
CHP and other forms of recycled energy typically reduce total air emissions compared to grid-supplied power and separate onsite thermal systems. However, CHP systems are still required to meet environmental permitting requirements that regulate the emission of pollutants into the air. The emissions depend on the technology used and the pollution abatement installed, and the requirements depend on the location of the system. See our Emissions page for more details.
Most CHP system owners decide to still remain connected to the electric grid, so their building operations can go on uninterrupted during times of planned or unplanned maintenance eon the system, or so the grid can cover peak times.
The process of interconnecting to the grid varies from state from state (and sometimes from utility to utility). States and utilities want to ensure that the system is safely and reliably connected to the system so as to not cause damage to utility lines or personnel. Some states are improving and standardizing the process to make it easier for clean energy. In general, smaller or less complicated systems can receive a "fast track" approval from the utility, requiring a few days’ to a few weeks’ time, while larger or more complicated systems require longer studies before being connected.
Operations and Maintenance
Once the system has been installed, interconnected, and commissioned, it has to be properly operated and maintained to maximize output and value. This can be done in a variety of ways, but will fall to either in-house staff or contractors or a combination of both.
If you choose to use your own personnel, staffing levels and training should be investigated. Larger systems are likely to require additional staffing to run them and all systems will require operator training. Time should be budgeted to cover hiring and training of operations staff. Maintenance of CHP systems can be very complex and require special skills. It is likely that all but the largest and most sophisticated of end users will have the personnel to provide anything but the basic maintenance required. Contractors will be needed for periodic maintenance and particularly for overhauls. Additionally these same maintenance contractors can be retained to provide all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, thus reducing the demands on operational staff.
If you already have a system up and running, the U.S. DOE Northeast CHP TAP may be able to help analyze its operation and suggest improvements.
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