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6 questions to ask before installing a CHP system

The 6 questions we’ll help you to answer before installing a CHP system at your organisation – from feasibility to financing

Is your organisation looking for greater energy independence? Are high prices, pressure on the grid and the transition to net zero leading you to reassess your energy consumption? Facing unpredictable costs, many businesses are scoping out independent energy control. And for secure, flexible energy, many are deploying Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

CHP systems are a well-established alternative to traditional supply. They’re easy to manage and cost-effective, making them a crucial part of the UK's transition to net zero. And with payback in one to three years, the savings made from a CHP system can fund even further low-carbon solutions.

But before deploying CHP at your site, you’ll need to take a few other factors into account. Your CHP system will need to be scoped, installed, operated, maintained and optimised to work at its best. We can support every step of your journey to on-site heat and power – and there are 6 key questions we’ll help you to answer along the way.


1. Is Combined Heat and Power right for me?

The most important question you’ll need to ask is whether a CHP system is right for your organisation. We can help you to assess the suitability of CHP for your site in just a few steps.

Energy data collection is fundamental for accurate sizing and savings calculations. To do this, we'll use your energy consumption (grid electricity and natural gas) and associated tariffs (i.e. p/kWh).

An initial feasibility study uses this data to evaluate how viable your CHP could be. For gas-fired CHP systems, we’ll often do this by calculating spark-spread. This shows the difference between grid electricity prices and the cost of the gas needed to power your CHP. The larger the spark-spread is, the bigger your return on investment could be.

An on-site review will determine more solid installation options and costs. Installation costs can vary from site to site depending on several key factors:

  • CHP system location, space allocation and planning implications
  • Noise issues, local regulations and maintenance restrictions
  • Emissions regulations
  • Gas availability
  • Electrical connections, e.g. LV, HV and network restrictions
  • Thermal integration
We’ve partnered with Edie to publish a guide to everything you need to know about CHP, from specification to cost savings.

2. Are my CHP plans safe and compliant?

Delivering sustained benefits for the lifetime of your CHP system requires careful planning. We'll help you to make sure it complies with regulations and environmental considerations.

Some important issues we’ll check for you include:

  • Permissions: Your CHP system needs to follow relevant rules and frameworks, ie. planning permission or environmental permits.
  • Low Emissions: Your CHP must be compliant with Emission Limit Values, as set out in relevant legislation.
  • Low Noise: Depending on the location of your CHP, we'll consider noise outputs. This is critical for CHP units situated near offices, bedrooms, or other built-up areas.
  • G99/G100 Protection: When connected to the mains, your CHP system needs to follow the requirements of a G99/G100. And, if requested by the DNO, the relay meet needs to enable you to easily enact further protection.
  • Remote Monitoring: Your CHP could link to cloud-based control, protection and monitoring systems.


3. Which type of CHP should I install?

Your chosen route may depend on several factors - and how quickly you’d like to deploy CHP. We can scope, design and install several types of CHP system, with various customisation levels.

You could choose a plug-and-play CHP system for the fastest available deployment, or customise the design to fit your site’s unique requirements. No matter which route you opt for, our design team will help you to assess your options and decide the best way to install CHP at your organisation.

4. How can I monitor the performance of my CHP system?

We have CHP systems operating throughout the UK, with all assets connected to, and remotely monitored by our web-based PowerRadarTM platform.

PowerRadar is our web-based monitoring platform. Developed in-house, it’s used by organisations to access usage and consumption data in an easy and convenient way. With 24/7 monitoring available through the platform, you’ll be able to track the performance of your CHP system in real-time - helping you to secure control of your energy estate.

And with customised reporting also available, you can see the data you value most – helping you to make informed-data-driven decisions about your energy management. Whether you’re honing in on the details you need or staying on top of reporting requirements, you can be assured the data you need is ready when you are.

5. How can I maximise the performance of my CHP system?

Successfully deploying Combined Heat and Power means doing more than just installing the engine. For best results and long-term cost savings, we offer solutions to enhance your CHP system.

  • Flexible CHP financing: Capital constraints and competing priorities could complicate your CHP business case. But with flexible financing, you could fund your CHP with no upfront costs.
  • Alternative CHP fuels: Almost 70% of CHPs in the UK run on natural gas, but we can provide several alternative fuels to suit your organisation’s needs. We’re pioneering hydrogen-fuelled CHP, with a 25% blend already available and more in development. And whilst we let the grid catch up with us, green gas certification is also available to reduce your carbon now.
  • Energy visualisation: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. PowerRadar can help you to understand your energy estate. With enhanced visibility, you can track the performance of your CHP system and maximise its potential.
  • CHP Operations and Maintenance: Safe, compliant and sustained CHP systems can unlock optimal long-term savings. We offer a choice of industry leading CHP service plans for the level of care you need.


6. Why choose Centrica Business Solutions as your CHP project partner?

Installing CHP can be complex, but we'll support you through the process and the lifetime of your asset. Centrica Business Solutions is a CHP market leader, with over 700MW installed by us worldwide. We have over 35 years of experience in cogeneration, and technical knowledge of CHP projects globally. So whichever path you choose for deploying your CHP system, we'll be with you every step of the way.

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