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The Value Of A Site Assessment

With emergence of cheaper solar and energy storage technology in Australia, many organisations are looking to install a hybrid power system to reduce power expenses and improve environmental standings. However without an appropriate site assessment and return on investment study, a hybrid power system will only benefit the seller not the buyer.

Therefore it is of paramount important to assess your site accurately and perform the appropriate analysis to choose the best hybrid power system for your application. To achieve the best results in design and delivery we recommend;

  1. Assessment of energy bills for active, reactive power consumption and consumption characteristics,
  2. Advise on possible operational changes to reduce the bill may that be influencing load types, modifying load usage based on TOU (time of Use) and exploiting tariff structures,
  3. Simulate multiple solar storage combinations to identify which system design would provide the best financial or environmental returns,
  4. Liaise with the local network provider to obtain and assess associated costs that may be incurred by the installation of the large scale solar and storage system,
  5. Provide initial feasibility costing and return on investment studies.

At CYB we strongly advocate an initial site assessment and return on investment study for every site to provide the best hybrid power system combinations and/or solution. The following case studies are examples from real commercial sites that had similar load profiles and operations but different tariff structures.

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Case Study 1 Requirement of Solar and Storage Combination

This client had a load profile that peaked early in the morning and in the afternoon. Providing just a solar system will only reduce the peak during the afternoon but not in the early morning. The tariff structure of the client depicted that majority of the cost was based on the peak demand not the consumption. Although a solar system will reduce the peak in the afternoon it will not reduce the
peak in the morning. Therefore the client will be still required to pay peak demand. A costing study for a complete zero utility import solar storage system listed the solution to be financially unviable however a combination of 200kW solar and160kWh battery system provided the return on investment within 7 years.

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Case Study 2 Requirement for improved power factor correction

This client had a load profile that was largely consistent throughout a 24 hour period. The site also had a tariff where the rate was charged at $0.1/kWh for import with peak demand charge for the total power (kVA) usage. As seen from the load profile the client had a substantial amount of reactive power consumption (almost 20% of the peak demand). Multiple scenarios were assessed with following outcome;

  • A Powerfactor correction system installation will immediately reduce the peak consumption by 20% and the bill due to the elimination of reactive power,
  • A standalone solar system will be practical only if the return on investment could prove the solar energy production cost was less than $0.1/kWh which was not feasible,
  • A battery and solar system combination was not financially viable since the size of the system needs to be sized for 1000kWh battery and 200kW solar.