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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.greentechmedia.com

Back in April 2015, Rocky Mountain Institute and partners including Global X and HOMER Energy published a study, The Economics of Load Defection, that examined how grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems will compete with traditional electric service. The findings showed that declining costs for such systems, combined with retail price hikes for grid electricity, would make grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems economically optimal for customers in many parts of the country by 2030. Furthermore, solar-plus-battery systems can offer other important benefits to customers, such as backup power for critical loads in the event of a grid outage and cost savings via peak-demand shaving and time-of-use shifting. However, at the time, RMI’s study did not detail the exact nature of energy storage costs. To break down the installed costs of PV-plus-storage systems today, RMI and NREL first analyzed data across a variety of existing studies from sources including Lazard and GTM, in addition to our own experience in the RMI Innovation Center.  One challenge to analyzing component costs and system prices for PV-plus-storage installations is choosing an appropriate metric. Unlike standalone PV, energy storage lacks a standard set of widely accepted benchmarking metrics, such as dollars-per-watt of installed capacity or levelized cost of energy. Energy storage costs can vary both by the total energy capacity of the system -- expressed in $/kilowatt-hour (kWh) -- and the rate at which it charges or discharges -- expressed in $/kilowatt (kW). Some consumers may prefer to optimize their system for longer-duration discharge, while others may have high peak demand and want to optimize their storage solution for power (kW) rather than energy capacity (kWh). Given the diversity of household preferences and load profiles, using a single metric can artificially distort reported costs, making it difficult to compare across varying systems. Therefore, we used the total installed price as our primary metric, rather than using a metric normalized to system size. To analyze component costs and system prices for PV-plus-storage installed in the first quarter of 2016, we adapted NREL’s component- and system-level bottom-up cost-modeling approach for standalone PV. Our methodology includes accounting for all component and project-development costs incurred when installing residential systems, and it models the cash purchase price for such systems, excluding the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Applying these methods, we looked at two primary cases: one that we refer to as the small-battery (3 kW/6 kWh) case, and another that we refer to as the large-battery (5 kW/20 kWh) case. For each, we test sensitivities around two sets of alternatives: DC- or AC-coupling configurations, and retrofit or new installations. The distinction between DC and AC coupling determines whether the battery stores power directly from the PV panels or first converts it to AC power, which allows AC charging from both the PV panels and the grid. The small-battery case is designed for a typical customer’s self-consumption of electricity, including peak-demand shaving and time-of-use shifting, whereas the large-battery case is designed to support greater backup energy requirements for improved resiliency to outages. Here’s what we found: The benchmarked price of the small-battery case -- which uses a 5.6-kW solar PV array and a 3-kW/6-kWh lithium-ion battery -- is about twice as high as the price of a standalone grid-connected 5.6-kW solar PV system (see Figure 1). The DC-coupled system price ($27,703) is $1,865 lower than the AC-coupled system price ($29,568) for a new PV-plus-storage installation. The price premium for AC-coupled systems is mainly due to the hardware and labor costs associated with the additional grid-tied inverter required for AC coupling. However, installed price is not the only consideration when comparing AC- and DC-coupled systems: AC-coupled systems are more efficient in applications where PV energy is generally used at the time of generation, and DC-coupled systems tend to be more efficient in applications where PV energy is stored and used later. FIGURE 1: Modeled Total Installed Cost and Price Components for Residential PV-Plus-Storage Systems, Small-Battery Case (2016 U.S. Dollars) We also compared the small-battery case shown in the chart above with the large-battery case that’s designed to increase resiliency by providing longer periods of backup power during grid outages. The larger system uses a 5.6-kW solar PV array with a higher-capacity 5-kW/20-kWh lithium-ion battery (see Figure 2). The DC-coupled price of this resiliency system is $45,237, which is 63 percent more than the DC-coupled price of the small-battery system. With AC coupling, the price of the resiliency system is $47,171, which is 60 percent more than the price of the small-battery system. But in exchange for the increased cost of the larger system, a household could potentially cover critical loads for roughly four times longer than with the small system, other things being equal. FIGURE 2: Modeled Total Installed Cost and Price Components for Residential PV-Plus-Storage Systems, Small-Battery Case vs. Large-Battery Case (2016 U.S. dollars) The component-level breakdown shows that hardware costs constitute just half the total price of the small-battery system and roughly 60 percent of the large-battery resiliency system. And the rest of the costs depend on where the system is installed: locality-specific costs and processes like permitting, interconnection, net metering, and fire codes can vary widely, affecting not only project costs but project timelines as well. Some of the biggest variables affecting the financial viability of grid-connected solar-plus-storage projects are the local utility rates, incentives and ancillary benefit valuations. Often, the utility rate structure (e.g., whether it uses peak-demand pricing, time-of-use rates, and the like) is the primary factor determining the financial viability of adding storage to a PV system. While PV-plus-storage system costs continue to decline, they still remain relatively high for many residential uses on account of soft costs related to permitting and regulatory barriers. However, as utilities and permitting jurisdictions gain familiarity with residential storage systems, we anticipate that the residential storage market will grow at an increasing rate in the U.S. The work presented in this paper is an important step to help technology manufacturers, installers, and other stakeholders identify cost-reduction opportunities while also informing decision-makers about regulatory, policy and market characteristics that impede solar-plus-storage deployment. Technology costs are changing rapidly, and this cost benchmarking lays the foundation for ongoing tracking of improvements in real-world systems. Kristen Ardani is a solar program lead for solar soft costs and tech to market at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); David Labrador is a writer and editor at RMI; Chris McClurg is a Senior Associate with RMI’s Building’s Practice. This piece was originally published at RMI's Outlet and was reprinted with permission.


Morgado L.N.,University of Oslo | Semenova T.A.,Leiden University | Welker J.M.,University of Alaska Anchorage | Walker M.D.,HOMER Energy | And 2 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2016

Many arctic ecological processes are regulated by soil temperature that is tightly interconnected with snow cover distribution and persistence. Recently, various climate-induced changes have been observed in arctic tundra ecosystems, e.g. shrub expansion, resulting in reduction in albedo and greater C fixation in aboveground vegetation as well as increased rates of soil C mobilization by microbes. Importantly, the net effects of these shifts are unknown, in part because our understanding of belowground processes is limited. Here, we focus on the effects of increased snow depth, and as a consequence, increased winter soil temperature on ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities in dry and moist tundra. We analyzed deep DNA sequence data from soil samples taken at a long-term snow fence experiment in Northern Alaska. Our results indicate that, in contrast with previously observed responses of plants to increased snow depth at the same experimental site, the ECM fungal community of the dry tundra was more affected by deeper snow than the moist tundra community. In the dry tundra, both community richness and composition were significantly altered while in the moist tundra, only community composition changed significantly while richness did not. We observed a decrease in richness of Tomentella, Inocybe and other taxa adapted to scavenge the soil for labile N forms. On the other hand, richness of Cortinarius, and species with the ability to scavenge the soil for recalcitrant N forms, did not change. We further link ECM fungal traits with C soil pools. If future warmer atmospheric conditions lead to greater winter snow fall, changes in the ECM fungal community will likely influence C emissions and C fixation through altering N plant availability, fungal biomass and soil-plant C-N dynamics, ultimately determining important future interactions between the tundra biosphere and atmosphere. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Elmendorf S.C.,National Ecological Observatory Network | Elmendorf S.C.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henry G.H.R.,University of British Columbia | Hollister R.D.,Grand Valley State University | And 15 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Inference about future climate change impacts typically relies on one of three approaches: manipulative experiments, historical comparisons (broadly defined to include monitoring the response to ambient climate fluctuations using repeat sampling of plots, dendroecology, and paleoecology techniques), and space-for-time substitutions derived from sampling along environmental gradients. Potential limitations of all three approaches are recognized. Here we address the congruence among these three main approaches by comparing the degree to which tundra plant community composition changes (i) in response to in situ experimental warming, (ii) with interannual variability in summer temperature within sites, and (iii) over spatial gradients in summer temperature. We analyzed changes in plant community composition from repeat sampling (85 plant communities in 28 regions) and experimental warming studies (28 experiments in 14 regions) throughout arctic and alpine North America and Europe. Increases in the relative abundance of species with a warmer thermal niche were observed in response to warmer summer temperatures using all three methods; however, effect sizes were greater over broadscale spatial gradients relative to either temporal variability in summer temperature within a site or summer temperature increases induced by experimental warming. The effect sizes for change over time within a site and with experimental warming were nearly identical. These results support the view that inferences based on space-for-time substitution overestimate the magnitude of responses to contemporary climate warming, because spatial gradients reflect long-term processes. In contrast, in situ experimental warming and monitoring approaches yield consistent estimates of the magnitude of response of plant communities to climate warming.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

HOMER Energy will host its fourth annual Microgrid Conference at Columbia University in New York, November 7-8 2016, drawing experienced microgrid developers from all over the world with the theme “Microgrids Lessons from Global Markets.” HOMER Energy founder and CEO Peter Lilienthal will elaborate on that theme as a keynote speaker, exploring the lessons that island and developing country microgrids can bring to industrialized energy markets. He will draw upon HOMER Energy experience designing microgrids in Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010, as well as other island energy projects. Past growth in the global market for microgrids has been strongest in the remote, island, and off-grid sectors. However, the advantages of microgrids are now becoming more obvious in grid-tied environments. Partly because of the catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, New York State is now seeking to become a leader in microgrid technology, funding dozens of community feasibility studies on how to make critical infrastructure more resilient through microgrids that don’t require daily visits from refueling trucks. New York businesses lost billions of dollars while waiting for grid power to be restored in the wake of the hurricane. Microgrids could have provided back up power in that situation, allowing industrial customers to continue operating off-grid temporarily. New York Public Service Commissioner Audrey Zibelman, a recognized expert in energy policy, markets, and smart grid innovation, will be a keynote speaker at the HOMER Microgrid Conference, explaining the state’s new comprehensive plan to modernize and transform its electric industry, and the important role microgrids will play in that plan. Also, from New York, Ke Wei, Senior Energy Policy Advisor the for the New York City Mayor’s Office will explore resilience issues from a city perspective. Other keynote speakers will address the ongoing need for microgrids to provide reliable power in the developing world. Richenda Van Leeuwen, former head of Energy Access for the United Nations Foundation, will describe worldwide efforts to invest in renewable energy solutions for sustainable development and climate change mitigation. Pradeep Pursnani, COO of the UK-based Shell Foundation, will explain the role microgrids play in improving energy access, one of the most challenging global development issues. The World Bank, which financed $6.5 billion in renewable energy / energy efficiency projects last year, has signed on as a partner to the HOMER Microgrid Conference, because of the role microgrids can play in global poverty reduction. Aside from a detailed comparison of microgrid technology in developing and industrialized country settings, the HOMER Microgrid Conference is specifically designed to walk attendees through the process of implementing a successful project. Sessions will carefully examine microgrid business models, technology options, and critical steps for planning, designing, and deploying a successful microgrid. The conference also offers optional in-depth training sessions in the HOMER software with certified trainers, both at the introductory and advanced levels. HOMER Energy, of Boulder, Colorado, is the exclusive distributor and developer of the HOMER® software, the global standard for microgrid decision analysis and feasibility studies. HOMER navigates the complexities of building cost effective and reliable microgrids that combine traditionally generated and renewable power, storage, and load management. HOMER includes hundreds of pre-configured components and addresses the modeling needs of all major microgrid segments. HOMER’s customers cut across the microgrid industry and include equipment providers, system integrators, project developers, EPC firms, engineering and consultancies, government researchers and policy makers, US military, NGOs and think tanks, solar installers and trainers, trade schools, and institutions of higher learning. HOMER is widely recognized as the industry standard by leaders including Navigant Research, the U.S. Department of Defense, the World Bank, and more than 160,000 HOMER users in 193 countries, and is included in the engineering curricula of thousands of universities worldwide. For more information about HOMER and to download the software, please visit http://www.homerenergy.com. You can register for the upcoming conference in New York, November 7-8 at http://www.microgridconference.com/ .


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

According to this market research report "Microgrid Market by Offering (Hardware- Power Generation & Energy Storage System, Software, and Service), Connectivity (Grid Connected and Remote/ Island), Grid Type (AC, DC, and Hybrid Microgrid), Vertical & Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was valued at USD 16.58 Billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 38.99 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 12.45% during the forecast period. Browse 84 market data Tables and 67 Figures spread through 171 Pages and in-depth TOC on "Microgrid Market" Early buyers will receive 10% customization on this report. Factors such as growing demand for automated grid system and enhancement in microgrid connectivity through integration of IoT are driving the growth of the microgrid market. Hardware expected to hold the largest share of the microgrid market during the forecast period The hardware segment held the largest share of the microgrid market in 2016, followed by the software segment. The hardware components are integrated to offer a complete microgrid solution. The hardware offerings include switchgears, power inverters, power generators and energy storage systems, smart meters, and reciprocating engines. Market for remote/island microgrid expected to grow at the highest CAGR between 2016 and 2022 The key reasons for the high growth of remote microgrids are heavy decline in prices of solar PV and wind power sources, drop in the cost of power generation compared with centralized power grids, and other environmental benefits such as less heat generation and smog. Microgrid market in APAC likely to grow at a high rate during the forecast period The increasing demand for rural electrification projects and the rapidly growing mining vertical in the Indian market, along with investments made by both national and international companies such as ABB, Siemens, GE, and Schneider Electric in this region, are some of the key factors contributing to the growth of the microgrid market in APAC. Major players operating in the microgrid market are ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), General Electric (U.S.), Eaton Corporation PLC (Ireland), Siemens AG (Germany), Exelon Corporation (U.S.), Schneider Electric (France), Caterpillar Inc. (U.S.), Power Analytics Corporation (U.S.), HOMER Energy LLC (U.S.), and S&C Electric Company (U.S.). Lithium Ion Battery Market by Type (Lithium Cobalt Oxide, Lithium Iron Phosphate, Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt), Power Capacity (0 to 3000mAh, 3000mAh to 10000mAh, 10000mAh to 60000mAh), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022 http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/lithium-ion-battery-market-49714593.html Battery Energy Storage System Market by Battery Type (Lithium-Ion, Advanced Lead Acid, Flow Batteries,, & Sodium Sulfur), Connection Type (On-Grid and Off-Grid), Ownership, Revenue Source, Application, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022 http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/battery-energy-storage-system-market-112809494.html MarketsandMarkets is the largest market research firm worldwide in terms of annually published premium market research reports. Serving 1700 global fortune enterprises with more than 1200 premium studies in a year, M&M is catering to a multitude of clients across 8 different industrial verticals. We specialize in consulting assignments and business research across high growth markets, cutting edge technologies and newer applications. Our 850 fulltime analyst and SMEs at MarketsandMarkets are tracking global high growth markets following the "Growth Engagement Model - GEM". The GEM aims at proactive collaboration with the clients to identify new opportunities, identify most important customers, write "Attack, avoid and defend" strategies, identify sources of incremental revenues for both the company and its competitors. M&M's flagship competitive intelligence and market research platform, "RT" connects over 200,000 markets and entire value chains for deeper understanding of the unmet insights along with market sizing and forecasts of niche markets. The new included chapters on Methodology and Benchmarking presented with high quality analytical info graphics in our reports gives complete visibility of how the numbers have been arrived and defend the accuracy of the numbers. We at MarketsandMarkets are inspired to help our clients grow by providing apt business insight with our huge market intelligence repository.


Semenova T.A.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center | Semenova T.A.,Leiden University | Morgado L.N.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center | Welker J.M.,University of Alaska Anchorage | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

Arctic tundra regions have been responding to global warming with visible changes in plant community composition, including expansion of shrubs and declines in lichens and bryophytes. Even though it is well known that the majority of arctic plants are associated with their symbiotic fungi, how fungal community composition will be different with climate warming remains largely unknown. In this study, we addressed the effects of long-term (18 years) experimental warming on the community composition and taxonomic richness of soil ascomycetes in dry and moist tundra types. Using deep Ion Torrent sequencing, we quantified how OTU assemblage and richness of different orders of Ascomycota changed in response to summer warming. Experimental warming significantly altered ascomycete communities with stronger responses observed in the moist tundra compared with dry tundra. The proportion of several lichenized and moss-associated fungi decreased with warming, while the proportion of several plant and insect pathogens and saprotrophic species was higher in the warming treatment. The observed alterations in both taxonomic and ecological groups of ascomycetes are discussed in relation to previously reported warming-induced shifts in arctic plant communities, including decline in lichens and bryophytes and increase in coverage and biomass of shrubs. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


PubMed | Naturalis Biodiversity Center, University of Alaska Anchorage and HOMER Energy
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Global change biology | Year: 2016

Many arctic ecological processes are regulated by soil temperature that is tightly interconnected with snow cover distribution and persistence. Recently, various climate-induced changes have been observed in arctic tundra ecosystems, e.g. shrub expansion, resulting in reduction in albedo and greater C fixation in aboveground vegetation as well as increased rates of soil C mobilization by microbes. Importantly, the net effects of these shifts are unknown, in part because our understanding of belowground processes is limited. Here, we focus on the effects of increased snow depth, and as a consequence, increased winter soil temperature on ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities in dry and moist tundra. We analyzed deep DNA sequence data from soil samples taken at a long-term snow fence experiment in Northern Alaska. Our results indicate that, in contrast with previously observed responses of plants to increased snow depth at the same experimental site, the ECM fungal community of the dry tundra was more affected by deeper snow than the moist tundra community. In the dry tundra, both community richness and composition were significantly altered while in the moist tundra, only community composition changed significantly while richness did not. We observed a decrease in richness of Tomentella, Inocybe and other taxa adapted to scavenge the soil for labile N forms. On the other hand, richness of Cortinarius, and species with the ability to scavenge the soil for recalcitrant N forms, did not change. We further link ECM fungal traits with C soil pools. If future warmer atmospheric conditions lead to greater winter snow fall, changes in the ECM fungal community will likely influence C emissions and C fixation through altering N plant availability, fungal biomass and soil-plant C-N dynamics, ultimately determining important future interactions between the tundra biosphere and atmosphere.


Glassmire J.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Komor P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Lilienthal P.,HOMER Energy
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

Due largely to recent dramatic cost reductions, photovoltaics (PVs) are poised to make a significant contribution to electricity supply. In particular, distributed applications of PV on rooftops, brownfields, and other similar applications - hold great technical potential. In order for this potential to be realized, however, PV must be "cost-effective"-that is, it must be sufficiently financially appealing to attract large amounts of investment capital. Electricity costs for most commercial and industrial end-users come in two forms: consumption (kWh) and demand (kW). Although rates vary, for a typical larger commercial or industrial user, demand charges account for about ~40% of total electricity costs. This paper uses a case study of PV on a large university campus to reveal that even very large PV installations will often provide very small demand reductions. As a result, it will be very difficult for PV to demonstrate cost-effectiveness for large commercial customers, even if PV costs continue to drop. If policymakers would like PV to play a significant role in electricity generation - for economic development, carbon reduction, or other reasons - then rate structures will need significant adjustment, or improved distributed storage technologies will be needed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2010

This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will transform the Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewables (HOMER


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