Getting Started with DER
How do I get Started with DER? If you are looking to install DER equipment at your home or business, it is important to thoroughly understand the relevant issues. The following general steps will help you get started with DER:
- Clarify your reasons for wanting DER
- Identify the current and future technology options
- Evaluate the cost and savings
- Understand the regulations, utility rate schedules, and project development process
- Understand the risks and uncertainties
Commercially available DER devices include internal combustion reciprocating engines, combustion turbines, microturbines, low temperature fuel cells, photovoltaic systems, wind generators, small energy storage/UPS systems, and waste heat recovery devices. Technology under field trials and poised to enter the market include, advanced natural gas internal combustion reciprocating engines, high temperature fuel cells, external combustion reciprocating engines (i.e. Stirling engines), fuel cell hybrid systems, large energy storage systems, and thermally driven HVAC, process, and bottoming cycle generators. These technologies are described in detail in the "DER Equipment" section of this guide.
Barriers and Uncertainties
Businesses face several barriers and uncertainties when purchasing DER equipment, including:
- Energy costs - energy costs can vary significantly based on many factors including supply and demand, time of year, and location.
- The ability of DER technologies to reach commercialization while meeting emission requirements
- The future of deregulation and the electric utility
- Interconnection of DER equipment to the electric grid, from safety and control to costs and net metering