This broad term refers to all forms and types of electricity produced connected directly to the building. This includes Renewable Generation Equipment like solar panels and wind turbines and diesel generators, and other conventional equipment fired from fossil fuels.
- The cost of electricity delivered via the power grid is not just the generation cost but also the transmission, distribution, and maintenance costs.
- Onsite generation is a method of generating electricity from the grid. The consumer only has to pay the system’s ownership costs.
Depending on the local regulations, you may be eligible to export excess electricity from your onsite generation systems to a grid. This is particularly useful for solar owners, as a photovoltaic generation can peak at noon and may exceed your household’s electricity consumption. You can still get credit for the kilowatt-hours you use by using solar buyback and net-metering programs.
Offsite generation: This is where you use an electricity production system located far from your home. This means that you will need to use the local power grid to bring those kilowatt-hours to your point of use. Electric utility companies usually charge the transmission and distribution fees. However, this arrangement is appropriate if your building does not have the necessary space to generate electricity. A high-rise office building, for example, has a smaller roof area than its floor area. This limits the ability to use solar panels.
Onsite generation is also known as “behind-the-meter” generation. The electricity-producing equipment and the building that uses it are directly connected “behind the same power meters. Offsite generation is also known as front-of-the meter generation. This is because electricity must pass through the power meters to reach your building.
Renewable Energy for Onsite Generating
These renewable energy technologies are frequently used for onsite generation.
- Solar photovoltaic panels
- Wind turbines
- Cogeneration using biomass (power + heating).
- Hydroelectricity on a small scale
Solar panels have two main advantages for homeowners and businesses. They are modular and can be used for any project. Also, they require minimal maintenance compared to other types of generation equipment. You can use 20 solar panels to power a residential system and 2,000 for a commercial array. Although one system may be larger than the other, they share the same basic component. The most recent annual report of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shows that solar power is now responsible for more than 40% of the new generation capacity in the US.
Many building owners can also benefit from wind turbines or biomass cogeneration systems. Their operation and maintenance requirements are more complicated than those of photovoltaic systems. Solar panels do not have moving parts, unlike wind turbines. They are also not subject to combustion like biomass generators.
- Wind turbines require more site conditions than solar panels. Solar panels can be installed on any property with enough sunlight, but wind speed limits wind turbines.
- Companies that have large quantities of organic waste can use biomass cogeneration. But, the operating costs are higher if biomass has to be bought and transported from another location.
Solar power can be a viable option for many homes and businesses. However, it is not recommended that the property be too small or shaded by taller buildings. Wind and solar power can also be viable when the resources are available.
On-Site Energy Consulting Services
ProStar Energy Solutions can provide more information about onsite power generation, design, and installation. ProStar is a specialist in commercial energy solutions, including whole energy systems that can be installed on buildings of any size. ProStar can help you with any industrial-sized project, from conception to completion.