Your questions answered: Microgrid economic modeling: How to make sense of the numbers

Additional questions are answered about microgrid economic modeling with examples of typical outputs

By Ram Kaushik October 27, 2022
Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Microgrid insights

  • Renewable energy systems and microgrids are of interest to building owners.
  • Schneider Electric offers tools and software to carry out various tasks and to control systems.

Most organizations strongly support the deployment of renewable distributed energy generation (DER) through microgrids for the usual reasons — improving efficiency, resilience and sustainability. However, the devil is often in the details. Communicating a clear economic proposition to stakeholders proves difficult and projects often die at the conception stage.

View the technical webcast Microgrid economic modeling: How to make sense of the numbers, originally aired on Oct. 5, 2022. Read additional information on this topic from Ram Kaushik, U.S. Offer Manager, Power Division, Schneider Electric.

From model predictive control, can machine be used to optimize the task or what software is used to carry out the task?

Depends on what is being asked. Machine learning can be used to optimize the task in real time using Schneider Electric Energy Microgrid Advisor software paired with a Schneider Electric Energy Control Center. From an energy modeling perspective, Energy Toolbase, Homer, etc. are software packages that can used to model a theoretical microgrid using meter interval data.

Can an individual person invest in solar at home and make a profit?

Potentially, it depends on the size of the rooftop array, panel selection and what price the local utility will buy back solar at.

Reliable source for outage costs?

Interruption Cost Estimate Calculator works at a state level.

Please provide a list of available modeling software.

Many modeling packages available: Homer, Energy Toolbase, etc. Schneider Electric has its own package called Microgrid-Designer-Tool (MGDT) but this is not available for external purchase currently. It is used as part of feasibility studies that we offer customers.

What is NC on last slide?

Non-coincident peak.

What is the most cost-effective renewable solution that you are seeing?

Solar PV plus battery storage.

All other considerations aside, are a cost/watt where it no longer makes sense to do this type of analysis?

Instead of thinking about a cost/watt, think about it in terms of payback period. Less than 10 years is great, 10-15 is good, 15+ the solution should be analyzed.

How to present an estimate of the modeling to the client.

The output of modeling studies should be distilled into understandable metrics that are simple to communicate to clients. This should include actionable metrics on financial ROI and some technical recommendations: sizing, project schedules etc.

So, integration is the key?

Yes, indeed.

Author Bio: Ram Kaushik is U.S. Offer Manager at Schneider Electric’s Digital Power division. He has more than 25 years of experience in technical and business roles in engineering, information technology and software development.