Best Energy Practices Remote Facilities

Best Energy Practices Remote Facilities
Guide to
Best Energy Practices
For
Remote Facilities
Produced by
Arctic Energy Alliance
Version 1 – July 2011
1. Introduction
Is this guide for me?
The purpose of this guide is to outline the best practices available for outfitting remote facilities which
produce their own energy on-site. The goal is to assist remote facilities to reduce fuel use, and therefore
operating costs and pollution. It is written for owners and operators of small to medium sized remote
facilities (lodges, exploration camps, and traditional camps with up to 50 people on site at one time). We
have tried to provide an overview of all the major energy systems found at remote sites, and for each
one describe how to use energy as efficiently as possible. The topics range from energy efficiency
measures to electricity production (generators and renewable sources) to heating and water and vehicle
usage.
Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA)
The Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) is a not-for-profit society established in 1997. Our mission is: "To
promote and facilitate the adoption of efficient, renewable and carbon neutral energy practices by all
members of NWT society”. From our offices in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson we
work to serve all the communities of the NWT. We offer support and advice on energy efficiency,
renewable energy and sustainable energy practices for individuals, businesses, communities, and other
interested groups.
If you have more questions, please call the Arctic Energy Alliance (867-920-3333), where an energy
advisor can talk to you about your camp’s energy issues and provide free advice.
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Table of Contents
1.
Introduction ......................................................................................................... 2
Is this guide for me? ............................................................................................................. 2
Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) ............................................................................................ 2
2.
General Overview............................................................................................... 6
Energy Optimization Sequence ........................................................................................ 6
Some other important topics ............................................................................................ 8
3.
Electricity .............................................................................................................. 9
3.1. Energy Efficiency........................................................................................................ 9
3.1.1.
Appliances...................................................................................................................................... 9
3.1.2.
Lighting ........................................................................................................................................ 11
3.2. Generators ................................................................................................................ 11
3.2.1.
Generator Myths ....................................................................................................................... 12
3.2.2.
Generator Statistics ................................................................................................................. 12
3.2.3.
Diesel generator – capital cost versus operating cost................................................. 13
3.2.4.
Load Management .................................................................................................................... 13
3.2.5.
Generator Efficiency ................................................................................................................ 13
3.2.6.
Generator Sizing and Selection ........................................................................................... 14
3.3. Batteries, Inverters and other system components ................................... 16
3.3.1.
Batteries ...................................................................................................................................... 16
3.3.2.
Inverters, Controllers, etc. .................................................................................................... 18
3.3.3.
Other Electrical System Components ................................................................................ 19
3.4. Monitoring ................................................................................................................ 19
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3.4.1.
Permanent monitoring........................................................................................................... 20
3.4.2.
Portable Data logging ............................................................................................................. 20
3.5. Renewable Energy (RE) Systems – Electricity .............................................. 21
3.5.1.
Some Renewable Energy system components ............................................................... 21
3.5.2.
Tying it all together - Integration of renewable energy with fossil fuel
generators .................................................................................................................................................... 22
4.
3.5.3.
Solar Power, Photovoltaics or PV ....................................................................................... 22
3.5.4.
Wind Generators ...................................................................................................................... 24
3.5.5.
Microhydro ................................................................................................................................. 26
Heating................................................................................................................. 27
4.1. Efficiency.................................................................................................................... 27
4.1.1.
Heat Loss...................................................................................................................................... 27
4.1.2.
Controlling the heat ................................................................................................................. 28
4.1.3.
Heat recovery............................................................................................................................. 29
4.2. Heating Systems ...................................................................................................... 30
4.2.1.
Heating system configuration .............................................................................................. 30
4.2.2.
Sizing ............................................................................................................................................. 31
4.2.3.
Control systems......................................................................................................................... 31
4.2.4.
Fuel Choice .................................................................................................................................. 32
4.3. Renewable Energy Systems - Heating .............................................................. 32
5.
4.3.1.
Wood and wood pellets .......................................................................................................... 32
4.3.2.
Solar heating .............................................................................................................................. 32
Water .................................................................................................................... 35
5.1. Efficiency.................................................................................................................... 35
4
5.1.1.
Low flow devices ....................................................................................................................... 35
5.2. Pumping and heating ............................................................................................ 36
6.
5.2.1.
Pumps and efficiency .............................................................................................................. 36
5.2.2.
Heaters ......................................................................................................................................... 36
Vehicles................................................................................................................ 38
6.1. Fuel Efficient Driving Tips ................................................................................... 38
6.2. Vehicle selection ..................................................................................................... 38
Appendix A – Load Calculation Chart .................................................................. 40
Appendix B – Pictures of Installations ................................................................ 43
Racking is shared with solar Photovoltaic panels (bottom). ...................... 47
Appendix C – Case studies ....................................................................................... 50
Remote Wilderness Lodge .............................................................................................. 50
Remote Guest Ranch ......................................................................................................... 52
Remote Guest Ranch ......................................................................................................... 52
Appendix D If you haven’t had enough yet ... .................................................... 57
Appendix E Glossary.................................................................................................. 58
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2. General Overview
Facilities such as Remote lodges and exploration camps can be very expensive to operate. Because there
is usually no road access with which to deliver fuel, fuel drums are flown to the site and staff time is
required to transfer fuel to the generator. The end result is very expensive energy. This makes remote
sites very attractive for investments in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
And, to maximize the return on your investments, a specific order of investment planning should be
followed to optimize your energy systems:
Energy Optimization Sequence
12345-
Track Energy Use – You can’t control something unless you are keeping track of it
Energy Conservation – Only use energy when needed
Energy Efficiency – Use energy in the most efficient way possible
Generator Optimization – Match the generator to the load and operate it efficiently
Electricity Storage (Batteries) – By storing electricity in batteries, the generator can be shut off
during low load times, and run at its most efficient speed during peak demand times and to
charge the batteries
6- Renewable Energy systems – Solar panels, Wind turbines and Hydro generators can be used to
supplement the generator, or even eliminate the need to operate the generator if battery
storage is added.
The tendency is to short circuit this investment sequence and start by buying solar panels or a wind
generator, when the best initial investment is energy efficiency measures or generator optimizing. For
example, $100 spent on replacing incandescent lights with LED or fluorescent ones can save about the
same amount of power as that produced by installing $10,000 in solar panels. So instead of spending
$20,000 on solar panels, the optimized energy investment mix could easily be $10,000 on solar panels
and $100 on lights bulbs to achieve the same reduction in fuel use. The best practice is to save money
before spending money and by extension it is better to first reduce energy use as much as possible, and
then install renewable energy systems to provide that energy.
Tracking Energy Use is something that is rarely done. Often people are aware of the high overall cost of
energy, but are not usually keeping good records of where and how the energy is being used. The
simplest method of tracking is by keeping logs of fuel consumption by the generator, heating
equipment, vehicles etc. where staff record the date and quantity each time fuel is added. A more
robust approach is to install a monitoring system that records the energy use in real time and graphs
energy use so that trends can be seen and unusual events can be identified quickly. Understanding your
energy use patterns is a very important first step in controlling and reducing your energy use. For more
information see section 3.4.
Energy Conservation means only using energy when it is needed, and eliminating energy waste that
does not provide any benefit. Some examples are leaving lights on when no one is present to need the
light, or keeping spaces warmer than necessary when unoccupied. Automatic light switches with
occupancy sensors, and automatic setback thermostats can be used to prevent this unnecessary energy
use. For more information see Section 3.1.
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Energy Efficiency means using as little energy as possible to achieve the desired result. It is estimated
that for every $1 invested in energy efficiency, you save about $5 in operational costs. This includes both
electrical efficiency and thermal efficiency.
Some examples of electrical energy efficiency measures are using LED or fluorescent lighting instead of
incandescent, using Energy Star devices/appliances instead of units with higher energy consumption;
and undertaking regular maintenance of equipment to keep it running efficiently over its lifetime.
Some examples of thermal energy efficiency measures are sealing the air leaks in the building envelope,
adding insulation and installing a 90% efficient condensing propane water heater instead of an older
70% efficient unit. For more information see Section 3.1.
Generator Optimization refers to properly matching the generator(s) output to the load, and running
the generator(s) in the most efficient manner. Many remote facilities have generators that are much
larger than the load requires because buying a bigger generator is comparatively inexpensive. It is the
increased fuel consumption of a larger generator that is the expensive part. A generator is much less
efficient at low load than at full load. A larger generator will consume more fuel than a properly sized
generator. Electricity demand is not constant; it has peaks that can be 3 times higher than the low
demand times. There may be equipment that is only used for short periods, but the generator has to be
big enough to meet that demand. Installing two generators allows one generator to be sized for the low
load times, and one to handle the peaks. Many sites are reluctant to change generators to a more
suitable size, or install multiple generators because of the “high costs” of new generators. These are
economic fallacies because the fuel savings are much greater than the initial extra cost. For more
information see Section 3.2.
Batteries provide a way to operate the generator in a much more efficient manner. The generator can
charge the batteries during low load times and electricity can be drawn out of the batteries during peak
times. In this way a smaller generator can be used as it does not have to meet the peak demand alone. It
might also be possible to shut the generator off at nights and use the batteries alone. Modern inverters
can monitor the battery charge level and the electricity load and automatically start the generator to
charge the batteries or meet a high demand. For more information see Section 3.3.
Renewable Energy Systems such as photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind generators, hydro generators, and
solar water heaters can be used to meet your energy needs instead of burning fuel. Although the initial
cost of these systems can seem high, they often pay for themselves in fuel savings very quickly. Before
investing in renewable energy systems you must assess the available resource (wind, sun, etc) and your
energy needs in order to get the best fit for your site. In some cases PV might be better than a wind
generator, and in other cases a local river might provide a hydro resource that is a better investment
than PV panels.
Equipment with a proven track record in remote facility operation and cold climates should be used as
much as possible. There are many successful renewable energy systems in remote locations in the NWT.
There are also research stations on Antarctica that are much more remote, and deal with harsher
climatic conditions than found in the NWT, that have successfully used renewable energy systems for
many years. Unfortunately, there are also many unsuccessful examples of systems that did not perform
as promised; and, system failure has more often than not been attributable to poor design and
operations, rather than with technical issues. For more information see Section 3.5.
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Some other important topics
Heating with Electricity
Using electricity from a generator for space heating is just about the most inefficient method of heating
possible. Small generators convert only 20% to 30% of the fuel energy into electricity. That same fuel
could be used in a furnace or boiler with an efficiency of 85% or more. By using generator created
electricity to heat your facility, three-quarters of the fuel is being wasted; or, to put it another way, 3
times the fuel needed to heat that space is being used. For more information see Section 4.
Oil used for heating
oil boiler
electric
heating
Heat Recovery from Generators
Small generators can waste over 70% of the fuel energy, and most of that waste is given off as unused
heat. It is possible to capture that heat and use it to heat domestic water or provide space heating.
There are two methods of heat recovery; one is from the cooling jacket of the generator, and the other
is from the exhaust. Using both methods will provide the greatest heat recovery. For more information
see Section 4.1.
District Heating
In general, having multiple low-efficiency heating appliances will burn far more fuel, and require far
more maintenance than a centralized heating plant. A centralized plant can also allow heat recovered
from generator to be used. Some thought needs to be put into the layout of the facility and the location
of the heating plant and generator if heat recovery is to be used. For more information see Section 4.2.
Water Use Efficiency
Water is often overlooked, but it takes energy to move and heat water, so using less water will result in
energy savings. Low flow showers, faucets and toilets can reduce water use by half or more. Ensuring
you have a well maintained and efficient pumping system can reduce the energy you use on pumping by
over 90%. For more information see Section 5.
Overall Design of Remote Facility Heating, Electrical and Water Delivery Systems
Trust experience. When working in remote sites there is little room for error, and working with
experienced, established system designers, suppliers, and installers will save time, money and energy.
Be very cautious of firms who claim to be skilled in this discipline but lack the practical hands-on
experience. When dealing with remote and/or renewable energy systems it is possible to end up with an
expensive piece of junk that does not provide the benefits that you were promised if you hire someone
who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
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3. Electricity
Electricity, which powers most of your equipment and lighting, is a major expense for remote camps.
Most camps use diesel generators to supply electricity, but the costs to supply it are much higher than
what businesses pay for electricity from an electrical grid. Because of this, energy efficiency is more
important for camps and lodges than it is elsewhere.
This section deals first with energy efficiency, then generators, batteries and inverters, renewable
energy systems, and finally, electricity monitoring.
For every $1 spent on efficiency, you save $5 in generation
3.1.
Energy Efficiency
Remote facilities in general have very low standards for energy efficiency. Often equipment efficiency is
less important than initial purchase price, so camps use equipment that is not the most efficient
available. More and more camps are realising that paying more for efficient electrical equipment pays
off, even in the short run. Because most camps are wasting lots of energy, it’s not difficult to bring an
inefficient site to a higher standard of energy efficiency. For new camps, it’s even simpler to integrate
efficiency practices from the start.
To keep electricity demand down, don’t use electric heating. A diesel generator will convert about 30%
of the usable energy in fuel into electricity. Using that 30% to produce heat as a final product is terribly
inefficient. Modern fuel heaters operate up to 95% efficient, getting 3 times as much heat energy from
that fuel.
3.1.1. Appliances
You may consider the electricity you use to run your appliances as a fixed overhead cost, or just the cost
of doing business; but careful planning can reduce your electricity consumption significantly and save
you money. Think carefully about what appliances should be run on electricity, which models to buy,
and how they are operated and maintained.
Avoid electricity where possible
Avoid electric ovens, stoves, ranges and major kitchen appliances. Short-duration devices like toasters
and microwaves are not as much of a concern. Avoid electric dryers, hot water heaters, and heaters anything that produces heat as its primary goal and is in use for long periods of time.
Alternatives are generally easy to find; and the most common alternative to electric heating is a
combustion-based source like propane or diesel. Propane is a convenient fuel which is easily dispatched
and, because it’s a gaseous fuel, it won’t cause fuel spills. This could save you a lot of money because
diesel or gasoline spills can be very expensive to clean up. Propane is commonly used for cooking, hot
water and space heating. Diesel is also a common fuel for space heating and hot water. Diesel fuel has
roughly twice the energy per volume of propane so storage and transport is generally less costly.
Machinery heaters are often electric. Propane and diesel pre-heaters are available, but are less common
since they cost more. Operating costs vary according to your situation and location, and should be
considered before deciding which to buy.
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Buy an efficient appliance
There are several energy label agreements used in Canada: EnerGuide, Energy Star, and the appliance
nameplate. They are important tools to help you decide which appliance to buy, but they don’t tell you
how much electricity the appliance will consume when you use it.
EnerGuide helps you compare the amount of energy used by appliances based on lab test results. It can
tell you that washer ‘A’ uses less energy than washer ‘B’ in the test, but not that it will use 300kWh of
electricity per year when you run it on your cycle of choice ten times a week for half the year. You
should choose the appliance with the lowest EnerGuide energy
rating that meets all your other requirements.
Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient
consumer products. It is a quick way to identify the most
efficient appliances. Whenever possible you should buy
EnergyStar appliances.
All electrical appliances sold in Canada must have a
manufacturer’s nameplate. It’s usually located near the power
cord. This shows brand, model, voltage, frequency and amps.
The power consumption (amps) listed represents the maximum
current draw possible and is generally much higher than the
normal draw when using the product. This value should not be
used to estimate the power consumption of the product.
Operation & Maintenance
People tend to ignore the role that operation and maintenance play in equipment efficiency because it
means ongoing thought and work. How we operate and look after appliances plays a huge role in the
amount of electricity they consume. For example: running the washing machine with one or two items
results in it going through the same cycle as if you had filled it up. Opening the fridge door repeatedly
for long periods of time may be convenient, but causes it to use more electricity.
Some appliances draw power even when they are turned off! These are phantom loads which can add
up to over 10% of your electricity consumption. A good example of this sort of appliance is a TV with
remote control. For the remote control to work, the TV must always be listening for the remote, and this
uses power. Other phantom load appliances include computers, VCR’s, microwaves, battery chargers,
computer power supplies and anything with a built in clock or remote control. To discover how much
power these appliances use while they are turned off, you can use a meter such as a Kill-a-watt meter
(about $40 and available from most large hardware stores). It shows you the instantaneous and
cumulative power consumption. These appliances should be plugged into a power bar which is turned
off when the devices are not in use.
Appliance location is important. Avoid locating the cooling appliances like fridges and freezers near
sources of heat such as stoves, dryers and water heaters. Whenever possible locate fridges and freezers
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outside of the heated area to reduce the work they have to do.
Keeping your appliances in excellent working order reduces energy consumption and increases their
lifespan. Cleaning filters for any air-moving devices is one of the simplest things to increase the
efficiency of that unit. It’s common to find rundown appliances still in use in remote sites. Issues like
defective door seals or low coolant charge in fridges can result in near continual operation. Modern
appliances often use a fraction of the energy of older units.
3.1.2. Lighting
Use energy efficient lighting and ensure lights are only on when needed.
Modern compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) and LED lighting present some very good options for
replacing older lighting products. Be aware that quality counts. Don’t buy the cheapest energy efficient
lights you can find and expect them to perform as well as a higher quality product.
Old-style T12 fluorescent (1.5” diameter) lighting can be replaced with modern T8 (1” diameter) fixtures
with electronic ballasts. Not only can they provide superior light quality, they use about one quarter less
energy and start better in cold conditions.
By using simple devices such as daylight sensors, spring-wound timer switches, and occupancy sensors,
or by using more elaborate computer-controlled lighting systems, lighting can be automated. Given the
rapid turnover of people at many remote sites, it’s not realistic to think that behavioural changes alone
will have people “turning the lights off”. It’s simplest to automate the process.
3.2.
Generators
For decades diesel generators have been used to provide electricity to remote sites. Diesel engines are a
mature technology; we know how to keep them running. They are the most common, and one of the
most expensive, types of remote power when full costs are accounted for (fuel, transportation,
maintenance). Gasoline, natural gas and propane are also options for generators, typically for smaller
electric loads. Propane and diesel generators offer the best levels of service for full time systems.
Gasoline generators are generally cheaper to buy, but more expensive to operate.
Generators vary from around 1 kW for the smallest units to MW-scale units to run energy-intensive
industrial applications. It’s likely that a generator, typically diesel, will be a significant source of energy in
your system. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and microhydro can work alongside a
generator, but the system integration must be carefully planned. It’s always much more expensive to
retrofit after the case.
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3.2.1. Generator Myths
There are many myths about diesel generators. They end up driving fuel costs up unnecessarily.
Myth # 1: It’s better to have a large engine working at a lighter load than a small engine working harder.
Reality: A small engine working harder will use less fuel, and will burn it cleaner. Diesel generators are
most efficient at 80% loading.
Myth # 2: Keep the generator loaded.
Reality: While it’s true that the heavier a diesel generator is loaded, the better the Litre per kWh ratio is,
you will end up burning more fuel by creating an artificial loading. It’s best to have the right size
generator.
Myth # 3: Generator capacity needs to be significantly oversized.
Reality: More attention to energy planning and load management will allow you to meet the peak
demand without an oversized generator.
Myth # 4: Generators are expensive.
Reality: Generators are not that expensive compared to how much its costs to maintain and run them.
Many generators will burn their value in fuel each year.
Myth # 5: Slow down the generator.
Reality: This lowers the power frequency, which can damage electronics and prevent some clocks from
keeping accurate time. As the net energy required is still the same, there is no savings of fuel.
3.2.2. Generator Statistics
The statistics below apply to a typical generator in the sub 250 kW capacity range.






Every Litre of diesel fuel burned will deliver approximately 3 kWh of electricity.
Every Litre of diesel burned will waste approximately 7 kWh of thermal energy.
Every Litre of diesel burned will emit approximately 2.68 KG of greenhouse gasses.
10% of the energy in fuel is used on the generator itself. Moving air, charging battery, water and
oil movement to keep the engine cool and lubricated, as well as friction by mechanical parts.
60% of the energy in fuel is converted to waste heat, which is displaced primarily through the
radiator, but also as radiated heat from the exhaust, muffler and the engine itself.
This leaves the remaining 30% to do the work required, in this case, producing electricity.
These numbers represent an ideal situation with the generator load factor between 70 and 90%. As the
load factor decreases, the ratio of waste heat to electricity produced further increases.
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3.2.3. Diesel generator – capital cost versus operating cost
As a rule, generator operating costs are always much higher than their purchase price. Maintenance
costs add more to this. Oil changes and air/fuel filter changes are also notable expenses. A typical
generator will require oil and filter changes every 6 months or more often if the generator is used
heavily or in a dusty environment. You must consider the capital costs of a generator and operating
costs before deciding on the system you want to purchase.
An example:
A 30 kW diesel generator may cost in the range of $20,000 + transportation and installation costs. At full
loading, it can burn up to 200 litres of diesel per day. At an average loading of 40% to 50% (12kW to
15kW) it might burn around 100 litres per day. At a cost of $2 per litre delivered to the site, the
generator will have burned its capital cost in fuel in about three months of continual operation.
3.2.4. Load Management
By employing two simple load management techniques you can save money on your generator in two
ways. The first way to save money is to design your whole system to have a lower power demand so you
can buy a smaller and cheaper generator. The second is to manage your power consumption so that you
burn less fuel.
Power demand is the amount of electricity (kW) required by your system at any instantaneous point in
time. It fluctuates as equipment is switched on and off. The peak load is the highest power demand you
ever expect to have. You need to know what this is when you buy a generator because you need to buy
a generator that can meet the peak load. It is also important when sizing a battery system because that
system needs to meet the peak demand.
Many generator salespeople will advise you to add up what your peak load would be if everything were
running all the time and then add some extra capacity to make sure you don’t run into problems. This
means you’re stuck with an oversized generator that’s running well below its capacity (and inefficiently)
most of the time. A better approach is to prepare a power budget using the form at the back of this
guide. Once you have an idea of what will be running on the system, you can manage your load by
staging or scheduling equipment use. It will also give you an idea about what the big power consumers
are and highlight places where you can reduce you energy consumption. Before filling out the blank
power budget sheet, have a look at the example power budget to get an idea about how to fill it out.
3.2.5. Generator Efficiency
As discussed in the section on generator myths, generators run most efficiently when they’re fully
loaded. The table below shows how the number of litres of diesel required per kWh of electricity
generated decreases as the % loading increases. At 10% loading 0.57 litres is required for every kWh but
at 75% loading less than half of that, 0.26 litres per kWh is required. The first two lines show the fuel
consumption with no loading. The dramatic difference between 1000 and 1800 RPM illustrates the load
the cooling fan and oil pumps put on the engine.
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Table 1 Fuel Consumption versus load chart
Load (%)
RPM
0
1000
0
1800
5
1800
10
1800
15
1800
25
1800
30
1800
40
1800
50
1800
75
1800
100
1800
Test performed on an Isuzu series 4HK1 tier 3, 2007
L/kWh
N/A
N/A
0.93
0.57
0.44
0.36
0.33
0.30
0.28
0.28
0.26
100kW machine
3.2.6. Generator Sizing and Selection
Many people base their generator capacity solely on the recommendation of the generator salesperson.
Remember that usually they want to sell you the largest generator possible for the profit and to avoid
complaints that the generator can’t handle extreme peaks in demand. The extra fuel cost that you will
pay does not affect them.
A generator system needs to be sized such that it is large enough to meet the highest load – even if that
load only runs for 1 minute per day. Before selecting a generator, reduce the size of your load using the
load management techniques described above. Once you have reduced your electrical load as much as
possible, there are ways to design your system so the peak load can be met without having to pay extra
money for an over-sized generator. From an energy measurement perspective, it’s ideal if the camp is
already built, and you can simply measure the electricity demand (presuming all efficiency measures
have been done first, so that you are using the best data possible). It’s more difficult to design systems
for a new camp with an unknown load. For new camps, consider renting a generator at first. This will
allow you to power the site up and gather real-life energy use data which can then be used to inform the
final system purchase.
The ways you control the power your generator produces can reduce the size of generator you need
significantly. A few of the most common methods of generator control are: a load priority panel, parallel
generators, and cycle charging.
Load priority panel
A priority load panel controls automated power down of optional loads. This allows a smaller generator
to be used, and during the very infrequent times when generator capacity is reached, the system can
automatically turn off optional loads (determined on a site-by-site basis) to allow the peak condition to
pass.
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Parallel generators
A parallel generator system is a system consisting of multiple generators which automatically come
online and offline based on the site’s loading. For example, a site with peak demands of 100 kW could
have 20kW, 30kW and 50 kW generators. With the load under 20 kW, the 20 kW generator would be
operating. As the load goes above 20 kW, the 30 kW generator can be brought online automatically to
carry the load, and the 20 kW generator automatically shuts down.
Some notes about parallel generator systems:



Parallel generator systems are best for larger sites, typically above 50 kW. This technology has
been used for decades, but up until recently, has been cost prohibitive for anything other than
MW class power plants. Modern parallel controllers for a 3-generator system can be in the
$20,000 range;
Parallel generator systems are best for sites with a relatively constant power loading. Take a
situation where a site has a low load of 15 kW, peak load of 150 kW and an average loading of
40kW. This site would be ideally fitted with 20, 50 and 80 kW generators, allowing each
generator to run at its most efficient point;
Parallel generator systems are useful for camps that plan to expand since you don’t need to buy
a large generator to start with: buy a small one and add another when you need it. Additional
generators can be tied into a parallel configuration to increase capacity or for redundancy. It’s
best to plan for the maximum number of generators at the start for easy future tie-in.
Cycle charging
Cycle charging is when a generator, battery storage and inverter system work together to supply the site
electrical power. For example, if not much power is needed during the night, the generator can be shut
down and the system operated on the battery bank.
Some notes about cycle charging:




Cycle charging works best for sites which have highly fluctuating energy loads and significant
periods of time at very low loads. A typical work camp is a good example of this, with an energy
spike at mealtimes and shift changes, but when the camp is mostly sleeping, the energy needs
are low;
Cycle charging is generally suited to sites below 50 kW with notable periods of time which the
load is under 5 kW;
Cycle charging relies on batteries, which have a finite life and replacement must be budgeted
for. With new battery technology on the near horizon, it may make sense to buy a lower-cost
battery bank now, and re-evaluate technology when time for replacement comes;
The inclusion of battery storage allows for easy integration of renewable energy technologies. A
wind generator can be installed one year and PV the following year. Every kWh that is produced
by renewable energy is a kWh not produced by the generator;
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
Cycle charging systems have the capacity to synchronize generator power with inverter power
to handle peak loading. This allows the generator to be smaller and harder working (more
efficient).
3.3.
Batteries, Inverters and other system components
3.3.1. Batteries
Batteries are used to store electricity until it is needed. Choosing the right type is important when
designing a reliable energy system – unless your system has a generator available to pick up the full load
all the time. Batteries can be used with generators to reduce generator run time and are almost
essential for renewable energy systems where electricity production is inconsistent.
Batteries are made up of several cells - each one is normally about 2 volts. Battery cells are composed of
a positive plate and a negative plate divided by a separator and immersed in an electrolyte solution.
When you connect an electric load to the battery, molecules in the electrolyte bond to the plate, which
releases electrons, which creates an electric current and supplies you with your electricity. When all of
the electrolyte has turned to water, the batteries are considered to be discharged and an electric
current needs to be applied in the opposite direction to reverse the process (charge the batteries).
Battery efficiency varies by battery type, operation conditions and maintenance, but 80% is a good rule
of thumb: for every 1000 kWh that you put into a battery, you can only expect to get 800 kWh back out.
Batteries are rated for a specific capacity in Ah (Amp hours). To convert Ah to kWh (kilowatt hours,
which is used for measuring the power consumption of your appliances), multiply the battery’s Ah rating
by its voltage rating and divide by 1000. For example, your automotive battery might have about 100
Amp hours of storage capacity at 12 volts, so 12 volts times 100 amp hours equals 1200 watt-hours, or
1.2 kWh of energy storage. However, it is not a good idea to completely discharge a battery, as this will
substantially shorten its lifespan. Discharging to 50% is a good rule of thumb for battery bank sizing, so
in our example, the battery should only be drawn down 0.6 kWh before it is charged again.
Batteries are connected together to form battery banks, which store more energy than individual
batteries. It is important to only connect batteries together that are the same type and age. If different
types batteries are connected together, or old batteries are connected to new ones, they will not
perform properly and the weaker batteries will draw down the stronger batteries.
Types of batteries
Many new battery technologies are being developed to produce smaller, lighter and cheaper batteries.
Currently, the most cost effective batteries for remote camp applications are lead acid batteries.
However, there are different types of lead acid batteries, and you should look at how the advantages
and disadvantages of each type will affect your operation before deciding which one you want to buy.
Avoid automotive batteries. They have thin plates and are not designed for repeated deep discharges,
which will likely occur if your camp is running off the battery bank. If the battery has a CCA rating (Cold
Cranking Amps), it is probably an automotive battery and should be avoided.
16
Recreational or marine deep cycle batteries are a compromise between automotive batteries and true
deep cycle batteries. They are cheaper than deep cycle batteries but don’t last as long.
Deep cycle batteries have much thicker plates in them, which can withstand a greater discharge, so they
can regularly go for longer periods without charging. There are two main types: wet cells and sealed
cells.
Wet cells are cheaper, can tolerate higher charging voltages and are more common so they’re better
understood by more people. They also require regular maintenance and produce hydrogen gas during
charging - this must be vented outside since it’s hazardous. They also perform much better when used
regularly, so they are not ideal for back-up or emergency systems.
Sealed cells perform better than wet cells when they haven’t been in regular use, don’t require as much
regular maintenance and don’t release hydrogen gas while charging. They are more expensive and
require charge controllers to prevent damage to the batteries. The two common types of sealed cells
are gel batteries and AGM (absorbed glass mat). AGM is less expensive but the gels tend to last a bit
longer.
Lifespan
The lifespan depends on the type of battery you purchase and how well you maintain it. Generally the
more you pay, the longer the lifespan. Some typical battery lifespans from the Solar Living Sourcebook:





RV marine type – 1.5 to 2.5 years
Golf cart type – 3 to 5 years
Wet cell (L16) – 6 to 8 years
Sealed cell (solar gel) – 5 to 10 years
Sealed cell, gel (Industrial quality traction) - 15 to 25 years
Bank sizing
The size of your battery depends on your power source, the load on your system, and how long you
want the system to be able to run solely on batteries (day or hours of autonomy). Filling out the table in
the load management section of this guide will give you an idea of what your peak load will be. The
battery system must be capable of meeting that peak load unless you plan to have a generator running
when that peak load hits. For example, if you have a piece of equipment that has a very high load, but
you know will only be run during the day, the battery system does not need to be able to cope with that
load if the generator is running during the day. In that case, the battery should be sized for the night
time load. The battery bank must also be able to supply the required kWh for the period of autonomy.
Again, the table in the load management section will help you determine this.
A battery bank that is too small will have a short life and provide poor system performance because the
batteries will cycle too deeply. A battery bank that is too large can make it difficult to maintain a full
charge, which can also damage the batteries. It is best to build your bank with the fewest number of
cells and batteries possible (use larger instead of more) because it cuts maintenance time and has fewer
interconnections, which add complexity to the system.
17
The voltage of the system depends, amongst other things, on your energy requirements and the length
of the connections between the generator and the load. Generally 12 volts works wells for systems
under 2kWh/day, 24 volts for systems under 7 kWh/day, and 48 volts for larger systems.
Battery maintenance and Storage
For safety reasons, batteries should be in a sealed container that is vented to the outside. This is
essential for wet cell batteries because they produce hydrogen gas when recharging. Your batteries
must be stored where they won’t freeze (battery performance is related to temperature). The charge
should also be maintained since they will slowly lose their charge, usually less than 5% per month for
well maintained batteries. Most batteries will sustain considerable damage if they are left unused in an
unheated space.
Batteries need regular maintenance to keep them working well and to prevent permanent damage. Wet
cell batteries need far more than sealed cell batteries. However, on-going maintenance and control of
charging are important for all types of batteries. It is beyond the scope of this guide to go into detail of
the maintenance required for the wide variety of batteries available on the market. Make sure you know
what maintenance is required and can provide it before deciding which batteries to purchase.
When you batteries need replacement, you should replace the whole battery bank. You system only
functions as well as the worst cell in it, so you’re wasting your resources if you only replace half the
batteries in an old system.
3.3.2. Inverters, Controllers, etc.
A number of pieces of electronic equipment are necessary for effective operation of your remote site
electrical system, and there are additional devices that can be used to automate it and optimise
operation. More and more of these components are being combined into units with multiple functions
so you need to connect fewer of them. Ideally all of these pieces of equipment should be collected
together at a control panel. Most control panels contain at a minimum an inverter, charge controller, DC
disconnect and a bypass switch.
Inverters, along with batteries, are at the heart of your system. Direct current (DC) power stored in
batteries is converted into alternating current (AC) power that is needed for most household appliances.
The size of the inverter will determine how many appliances you can run at the same time. Some
inverters can automate operation of a generator and have sophisticated computer controlled systems to
allow you complete control of your system.
Charge controllers control the charge going into your battery and help keep it fully charged and prevent
damage from over-charging or charging too quickly. Many new charge controllers have built in system
monitors.
Other devices typically used in remote site camps or lodges using battery power include:

A DC disconnect is required for code compliance and provides a convenient location for tying
together DC wiring.
18

A bypass switch allows you to bypass your inverter and run loads from the generator directly.
The more complicated your system gets, the more sophisticated your control system will have to be.
Additional controllers and/or regulators may be required to manage your system.
3.3.3. Other Electrical System Components
You need to design the right size electrical service for your camp. Electrical codes are focused on the
amount of peak energy a given site might require, and the size of an electrical service (e.g. 200 or 400
amps) is based on the square footage of a building. In a normal grid-connected building, the increased
cost of a larger service is negligible, so it’s normal to have dramatically oversized electrical services. In a
remote site with generator power, everything is different: over-sizing the infrastructure (wiring,
transformers and power plants) to service a theoretical load, causes the costs of operation to skyrocket.
It’s best to take some real-life measurements of actual demand and to size the power plant accordingly.
This may not be possible for new sites, in which case it’s best to consult with a renewable energy
professional that has experience dealing with remote facilities.
Transformers
The purpose of a transformer is to step up or step down the system voltage, typically to save in wire
costs or for longer distance transmissions. Transformers are very common items, but are often regarded
as untouchable electrical infrastructure, designed and installed by those that know better. From the
perspective of the engineer or installer, having a transformer that is oversized means they are less likely
to have a customer calling and complaining about issues. However, the operational costs borne by the
sites are tremendous. Each transformer has an idle load, typically in the range of 3-5% of the
transformer capacity.
For example, a 200 kW transformer will have an idle load of approximately 6-10 kW, 144-240 kWh
per day. Since transformers are almost always energized 24x7x365, this adds up considerably: to 57
litres of diesel per day = 20,800 litres per year, in the example mentioned above.
Some transformer issues are simple. For example, if the site has a medium voltage distribution (480 or
600 VAC), ensure the prime generators output this voltage natively. Some sites have a low voltage
generator which is then stepped up through a transformer immediately for distribution. This
dramatically reduces the already low conversion efficiency from diesel to electric. Always minimize the
number of transformers in the electrical design and size them for the actual load. If the load changes
down the road, you can change the transformer for a fraction of its operating cost.
3.4.
Monitoring
Knowing precisely how much energy is being
consumed and when it’s consumed is essential for
efficiency. Most sites have no method to measure the
amount of electricity used at any given time, let alone
19
the amount of diesel they use to generate that electricity. The best practice is to ensure metering is a
permanent part of your generator package from the start. There are many off-the-shelf products
available, such as the Ion 6200 (designed in Victoria, BC). Monitoring power demand as a part of normal
site operations allows site operators to learn the trends of power consumption, and to be able to flag
anomalies.
3.4.1. Permanent monitoring
Permanent monitors help your system operators become familiar with system trends and help you keep
track of what’s happening on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis. The most important piece of
information for this purpose is demand (kW). Many sites focus on measuring amps but this is not
particularly helpful. Good quality meters compute the actual power being used many times per second,
resulting in highly accurate data. The data can be viewed and recorded in a variety of ways. The best
systems automatically upload data to a remote server, which protects against data loss. Data can also be
stored on a memory key and manually collected. This monitoring can be one meter for the whole site, or
can be broken up on a building-by-building, or even circuit-by-circuit basis. As energy efficiency is
becoming a hot topic, more low cost, easy-to-use metering solutions are becoming available.
3.4.2. Portable Data logging
Portable devices allow temporary monitoring of power
and are typically operated by energy auditors.
Connection of these devices requires exposure to live
electrical circuits and utmost care must be taken.
Training is required to deploy portable metering.
Portable devices typically include analysis software.
The Hioki 3197 is one of the more affordable and easy
to use tools for this purpose. There are several other
products out there including Fluke. The Arctic Energy
Alliance has a Fluke power analyzer that is available.
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3.5.
Renewable Energy (RE) Systems – Electricity
Renewable energy has been used for centuries to provide electrical and mechanical power. Some
technologies, such as wind and hydro were in use long before electricity was commonplace. A properly
planned, installed and maintained renewable energy system can save you money, increase your energy
security and lower your environmental impact.
3.5.1. Some Renewable Energy system components
This illustration outlines some of the possible components of an off-grid renewable energy system.
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
Wind Generator
Pole Mount Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels
Roof or Ground Mount Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels
Generator
Inverter / Power Panel
Batteries
Fuel
1. Bypass switch
2. Inverter
3. Controller
4. DC Safety Disconnect
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3.5.2. Tying it all together - Integration of renewable energy with fossil fuel
generators
Generators supply firm, dispatchable power. This means that peak power is available whenever you
need it – if you have a 50 kW diesel generator, you have 50 kW of firm peak power – or 1200 kWh per
24hrs of running. Renewable energy is different. Power is supplied based on the available wind or sun or
other natural resource at that time. Microhydro systems offer power similar to that of a generator – it’s
constant and predictable power. Wind and solar systems on the other hand, are intermittent. Solar
power is relatively easy to predict but varies dramatically by season. Wind is the most difficult natural
resource to predict.
How your systems tie together will be the topic of planning sessions and the finer details of integration
are beyond the scope of this document. It is a job for an experienced renewable energy designer. Be
cautious with engineers who do not have successful projects completed. Look for firms with established
track records and talk to their past customers before selecting one.
DC subsystem
If your electrical system has a DC subsystem, such as a hybrid battery/inverter system, renewable
energy sources can be tied in at the DC level, augmenting battery charging from the diesel generator
and allowing the generator to work less. It is more efficient to run DC appliances off a DC system than
convert the power to AC and use AC appliances.
AC coupled mini-grid
For larger systems and systems in which the distances between the generator and the loads are long, an
AC coupled mini-grid may make sense. In these situations, it is presumed that a diesel generator is
running constantly (ideally in a parallel configuration). Using off-the-shelf grid-intertie inverters, you can
use the same hardware that allows individuals connected to a utility grid to sell power back to the
utility. These systems feed power back into your mini-grid. Any kWh of energy produced by renewables
is a kWh not produced by a generator.
3.5.3. Solar Power, Photovoltaics or PV
Solar Electric (solar power, photovoltaic or PV) products convert the sun's energy into electricity. Solar
energy is a variable resource which can produce electricity for a somewhat predictable time of the year.
In remote camps the electricity produced is normally stored in batteries for future use. It can also be
used to power an appliance such as a water pump directly, or fed into the power distribution grid if you
have a mini-grid. PV systems are modular, allowing you to start with a small system. As your power
requirements grow, you can add more modules.
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Electricity Production
PV modules produce electricity in proportion to the
amount of sunlight falling on them. In full overhead
or “peak” sun (1000 Watts/m2) they produce their
rated power. Reduced sunlight caused by clouds,
pollution, precipitation, dust, shading, etc. will
diminish the amount of electricity generated.
Seasonal output variations are significant, especially
in the north, due to the change in the number of
daylight hours throughout the year.
It is a common misconception that heat is required
for PV modules to produce electricity. High
temperatures actually decrease the power output.
Warmer climates require PV modules with a higher
maximum voltage than those used in cold climates.
Cold temperatures decrease resistance and increase
voltage. Modules with a lower voltage rating are
ideal in colder climates such as Canada.
Types of solar cells
There are different types of PV cells: single silicon
crystal (mono-crystaline), multi silicon crystal (polycrystaline), and amorphous silicon (a-Si). They have
varying levels of efficiency and cost. The cost per
watt of output doesn’t change very much, but more
efficient panels will be smaller. Amorphous panels
are the least efficient but the most robust.
Location and orientation
Proper location of solar panels is critical to get the
best value from your investment. Solar panels
should be located in an area with the best sun
exposure while keeping the solar panel as cool as
possible. Shading (such as from trees or other
buildings) on even one cell of a module will reduce
the output of the entire module. Solar panels must
be angled to capture the most energy from the sun.
A general rule for this is your latitude - 15° for
summer and +15°for winter, e.g. in Yellowknife at
62° latitude, solar panels should be mounted at 47°
from horizontal for summer optimization, or at 77°
for winter optimization. Seasonal adjustment of
23
solar panels can make a significant improvement to output. The further you are from the equator, the
more pronounced this is. However in the NWT, the number of sunlight hours in the winter is so low that
most system operators leave their panels at an angle equal to the latitude to optimise spring and fall
collection. If you have a high electrical demand in the summer, it would be worth adjusting the panels to
latitude - 15° for the summer.
All PV mounting structures must have good air circulation around the modules. Air circulation provides
natural cooling of the modules and increases efficiency by allowing them to operate at lower
temperatures. If the site where your PV array will be mounted receives high winds you must ensure the
back of the modules are not exposed. High winds and northerly winds during the winter can create
uplifting forces strong enough to seriously damage your PV array. Spacing your modules a few inches
apart decreases the likelihood your array will be damaged by the wind. Snow loading is another
consideration. The panels must be installed at a height and angle that allows them to shed snow easily.
Roof mounts are the most popular choice for small residential systems. The modules are located on the
roof above most objects that would cause shading problems and the large roof surface makes it easy to
attach the mounting structure. A roof mount also locates the modules out of sight, reducing the
possibility of vandalism or theft. If your roof is facing in the wrong direction or the roof pitch causes
problems then modules can be installed on a south facing wall using the same mounting structure.
Pole mounts, an option which involves installing the panels on a pole dug into the ground, are easy to
install and allow the array angle to be adjusted after installation. The mounting frame fits on a length of
schedule 40 pipe set securely in a concrete form in the ground.
A significant increase in electricity production can be achieved by installing a solar tracking system.
These systems keep the modules oriented towards the sun as it moves across the sky during the course
of the day. However, they are expensive, introduce a mechanical component and add complexity to the
system. They are not recommended for remote applications in the NWT.
Maintenance
Mechanically PV is the simplest form of alternative energy. There are no moving parts in PV modules,
little maintenance is required and there are no consumable items. It is a mature and proven technology.
It was developed in the 1950’s, primarily to serve the needs of space exploration. The original panel was
invented in 1954 and still works. Product reliability is excellent; modules typically have 25-year power
production warranties on them. PV is extremely low maintenance: typically limited to keeping the
panels clean and periodic inspection of electrical connections.
3.5.4. Wind Generators
A wind generator converts the power of the wind into electrical energy. Wind energy has been used for
centuries for grinding grain, pumping water and generating electricity. Small wind turbines were an
important source of electricity for rural families in North America in the 1920s and 1930s. Wind energy
faded into the background with the rural electrification efforts of the 1940s and the development of
reliable small engine generators. Today, wind is gaining tremendous popularity and is generating
significant amounts of power both off-grid and as a source of energy for large utilities.
24
The most important factor in assessing the potential for wind generation at your site is the local wind
speed. The power produced from a wind generator is not a linear relationship with wind speed, the
power produced goes up with the cube of the wind speed.
For example, a doubling in wind speed produces an 8-times increase in power output. A wind generator
will produce about 8 times as much power in a 30km/h wind as it will in a 15 km/h wind. Even a 25%
increase in wind speed will produce about twice as much power from your wind generator.
This is why knowing what the wind regime is at your location is extremely important.
Electricity Production
Wind power output depends on the quirks of nature, and is one of the most unpredictable renewable
resources. Wind turns the blades of the turbine, which spins a shaft within the turbine structure. The
shaft drives a generator to produce electricity. The electricity is either used directly (such as an AC
coupled system or water pumping) or stored in batteries. The established way of working with a variable
resource like this is using a hybrid system, such as solar PV, and storage for surplus and backup power.
Types of wind turbines/equipment specifications
Horizontal axis wind generators are by far the most common type and are what most people think of
when they hear about wind turbines. They require a tower on which they can be installed securely.
There are two main types of towers – guyed and monopole. Guyed towers are significantly lower in cost
and easier to maintain, as they can be winched down to the ground for any service needs, however they
take up more land area. Monopoles are typically located when space or aesthetic issues are a priority installation and maintenance are more expensive.
Vertical axis wind turbines, which manufacturers claim operate at low wind speeds and are more
versatile and easier to install than horizontal axis wind turbines are starting to make their way into the
marketplace, but are still largely untested in Northern locations. If you are considering this technology,
you should demand independently verified performance data and a guarantee that it will work as
claimed at your particular site.
Turbine selection is critical. Ensure the model you choose has good performance at the wind speeds at
your location and has a proven track record of operating well in Northern climates.
Location and orientation
Your site requires good wind in order for a wind generator to be effective. Wind energy is generally
unpredictable and varies tremendously site-to-site. Proper location and turbine selection are required
for successful projects. Monitoring the wind speed before making the decision on where to put the
turbine and which one to buy can prevent you from wasting your investment. Do not rely only on your
feeling that there is always a good, strong wind because we generally only notice the wind when we feel
it – not when we don’t feel it. Most small wind turbines have a cut in speed (the wind speed they need
in order to start electricity production) of about 4 m/s or about 14 km/h. But at this low wind speed the
wind turbine produces only a tiny fraction of its rated output. Depending on the height of your tower,
you may need approval from Transport Canada. Very large wind turbines may require other permits.
25
Maintenance
Wind turbines require regular maintenance with the degree of maintenance varying depending on the
turbine selected. Ensure you have a plan in place for maintaining the turbines (regular and emergency
maintenance) once they have been installed. This includes getting access to the turbine, which may be
the most difficult part of the maintenance.
3.5.5. Microhydro
Microhydro power is predictable, constant and can be an excellent investment IF a suitable source can
be found nearby. Since water flows day and night, a microhydro system requires far less battery storage
than other technologies. Seasonal streams may be used when a hybrid water and solar system is
designed. Unfortunately, most remote facilities in the NWT are not near a water source that’s suitable
for easy use with today’s microhydro technology.
Electricity production
Flowing water can produce between 10 to 10,000 times more power than sun or wind for the same
capital investment. It all depends on the amount of water, how far it drops and how close you are to it.
Every microhydro system is unique because every water source is different. Proper planning and design
is required to optimise a system for your needs. Advanced skill microhydro designs are required to allow
a microhydro plant to continue to operate during freezing.
Types of Microhydro
The type of turbine selected will depend on the type of application. For example, is the power coming
from a large amount of water falling a small distance, a small amount of water falling a large distance,
water flowing through a stream bed, etc?
DC and AC microhydro generators are available. Generally speaking, DC is used for smaller systems,
typically under 5 kW, and where the turbine is located within 500 meters of the power system. This
power would generally feed into a battery-based hybrid power system. AC is used in larger installations
and works just like a diesel generator, except water is providing the energy instead of diesel.
Location and orientation
To see whether microhydro would be suitable for you, the first step is to quantify the water resource
available. This is done by determining the head (vertical drop), flow rate and pipe length, very accurate
calculations can be made to determine the potential of this resource. Once the initial reports look good
and you want to go ahead with the project, you will need to apply for permits. These can be quite
diverse and lengthy so be sure to get this process going early.
Maintenance
The maintenance of microhydro turbines depends on the turbine and the water it’s installed in. The
turbine/generator needs to be maintained and the path to the turbine (penstock) needs to be kept free
from debris, including ice and logs.
26
4. Heating
4.1.
Efficiency
Heating is likely the largest energy user in your facility in cold weather. The easiest and most cost
effective way of getting the most out of your heating system is by keeping the heat it produces inside
your building. It doesn’t matter how efficient your furnace is if the building leaks it all away.
Fortunately, it is simple and inexpensive to keep that heat in.
This section looks at what you can do to prevent unnecessary heat loss from your building and then
looks at how you can improve the efficiency of your furnace. – The same order that you should use
when looking at reducing your heating bills.
4.1.1. Heat Loss
The building envelope is the shell of the building that separates the heated area from the outdoors and
must control the flow of heat, air and moisture. It includes the walls, windows, doors, floor and ceiling
or roof. Heat loss (& gain) through your building is linked to the level and quality of insulation in the
ceilings, walls, floors, the losses with windows and doors; and, the sealing in the joints and holes in the
building envelope. The most important things in minimizing your heating costs and fuel consumption
are to ensure that you control your heat flow with enough insulation and control your air flow by
making your building as airtight as possible.
Controlling heat flow
Heat moves from a warm spot to a colder one. Insulation wraps the house in a layer of material that
slows the rate at which heat is lost to the outdoors. The higher the resistance value (RSI value or Rvalue), the slower the rate of heat transfer through the insulating material. One insulation may be
thicker or thinner than another but if they both have the same RSI value, they will control heat flow
equally well.
Heat is also wasted from hot water pipes. Insulate hot water pipes and minimize your hot water use by
installing low flow showerheads and faucets, fixing leaky faucets and running washing machines with
cold water.
Heating ducts running through unheated or cooler spaces should also be insulated.
Controlling airflow
Air leakage can represent 25 to 40 percent of the heat loss from an older building and can lead to other
problems such as mould growth or damp patches on the walls and ceiling as well. Crawling and flying
insects make their way into a building in the summer via many of the same routes as air leakage in the
winter.
It is important to reduce the heat flow as much as possible. New buildings have a continuous air barrier
to minimize air leakage but in older buildings this has usually been compromised by renovations - if it
was there in the first place. Most air leakage occurs at the joints between materials and at openings,
27
rather than through the materials themselves. Reducing air leakage is one of the most cost-effective
ways you can undertake in your buildings; the leakier the building, the greater the potential savings.
Ideally, an energy advisor would visit your facility and inspect your buildings and give you advice on how
leaky your building is and which specific areas need attention. They can perform a ‘blower door’ test to
measure the amount of air leakage, and to identify the main air leakage locations. However, if it is cost
prohibitive to bring an advisor to your site, air sealing can be a do-it-yourself option. The first steps to
consider are the following:








Weather-strip and caulk windows and doors
Upgrade or replace windows
Seal all openings into the attic
Seal the top of foundations
Seal baseboards
Seal electrical outlets
Close up unused fireplaces
Seal ducts
For more information on air sealing, consult NRCan's publications entitled “Air-Leakage Control”,
“Improving Window Energy Efficiency” and “Keeping the Heat In”, and Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation's “About Your House”, and “Renovating for Energy Savings” fact sheets.
Buildings with very low air leakage may need provisions for ventilation air and air for combustion for
stoves or furnaces. Older buildings typically have cracks and leaks in the building structure and leaky
fans which provide ventilation, but it comes at a large cost as it is completely uncontrolled and causes
major losses in heating. In a very well sealed building you will have to include alternative methods of
ventilation, such as use of a heat recovery ventilator.
4.1.2. Controlling the heat
Insulation
As mentioned previously, it is important to insulate your hot water pipes and heating ducts. You want
the water (or air in the case of a forced air system) to arrive at its destination hot. It is always important
to insulate your pipes, but it is especially important if the pipes/ducts run outside or in an “unheated”
crawlspace. If the crawlspace does not need to be heated, then you should have all pipes and ducts
running through it well insulated to prevent heat loss.
Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats, along with proper programming of schedules provide an excellent way to
fine-tune the temperature. You can use them to control different parts of the building and have it set at
different temperatures for different times of the day.
For example, setting back the temperature to 16 degrees Celcius at night and when the building or
section of the building is unoccupied can reduce your heating costs by up to 10%.
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4.1.3. Heat recovery
Once your building has an energy efficient building envelope, proper insulation and air sealing, and an
efficient heating system, you need to capture any other sources of heat available on site.
Heat recovery ventilator
Most energy-efficient buildings use a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). It works by passing stale, moist air
from inside the building through an air-to-air heat exchanger in the HRV before exhausting it outdoors.
At the same time, cold incoming fresh air is pulled through the HRV on the opposite side of the heat
exchange core, transferring the heat from the warmer stale air to the colder incoming air, before
distributing it in the central ventilation system or furnace air duct. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
does 4 things: brings fresh air into your home, warms the air, circulates it, and gets rid of stale air.
Drain water heat recovery
Most hot water is only used for a few seconds before it goes down the drain, with most of the heat
wasted. It is possible to extract the heat from your waste hot water using a simple drain water heat
recovery device to pre-heat incoming water. This reduces the cost of heating the incoming cold water..
Properly planned, it’s a very simple easy to install technology that yields excellent payback. The drain is
wrapped with copper tubes which are connected to the incoming water of the hot water system, where
it transfers a significant amount of waste heat into the incoming water. The higher the volume of hot
water the better the benefits. This is especially effective in situations where there are many people
staying on site and using running hot water for personal needs. It is not as effective if there’s just one
person who is already limiting their water use.
Generator heat recovery
A huge source of waste heat is from your generator. All generators emit a certain amount of heat
during power generation; roughly 70% of the energy content in the fuel you burn in your generator is
converted to waste heat. This heat can be captured to heat rooms or to preheat water.
29
Heat is usually removed from the body of the generator by a cooling jacket around it. The heat is usually
taken from the coolant through a radiator, but it can be directed to a useful location instead. Also, you
can capture the heat that’s in the flue gases that normally just goes up into the air. This involves
installing equipment in the exhaust stack to collect the heat. Of the two methods, heat recovery from
the generator cooling system is easier because most of the heat recovery system is already there, and
you don’t have to deal with the corrosive elements in flue gases.
Old generators can be retrofitted to capture the heat, and some new generators come with heat
recovery options. Before you buy a new generator you should consider how you can tie the waste heat
into your heating system and look at the heat recovery options available. After all, do you really want
most of the energy in the fuel you haul into your camp to be wasted?
4.2.
Heating Systems
Electric heating with electricity created using a diesel
generator is very inefficient. 70% of the fuel energy is
wasted at the generator, making the electric system at
best 30% efficient. If your camp has electric baseboard
heaters, they should only be used in emergency
situations.
4.2.1. Heating system configuration
There are three main types of heating system
configurations you should consider for your camp. Space
heaters, central heating, and a district heating system.
Regardless of the type of heating you choose, shutting it
down completely in the summer can avoid unnecessary
fuel consumption.
Space heaters
Space heaters, such as wood stoves or freestanding diesel camp heaters can be used to heat each room
or group of rooms on your site. Space heaters often don’t require electricity to run and only heat the
spaces in which they’re located. For smaller camps with small buildings this works well.
Many older camps use passive, freestanding, non-electric drip type diesel camp heaters that rely on
gravity-fed fuel source. These heaters are reliable, convenient and proven in the remote camps. They
are a good option for sites with no electricity. However, they are terribly inefficient in design, easily
consuming two to three times the fuel used by modern units. Poor overall combustion efficiency and the
need for natural convection of exhaust gasses results in a lot of heat going up the chimney. More
efficient electric assist heaters can be used at remote sites that have a source of electricity. Newer
modern, electrically controlled units are even better with an efficiency of up to 90%. By using electronic
ignition, and forced-air combustion, more usable heat can be extracted from the same input fuel.
30
Electronic ignition and thermostatic controls allow the unit to be turned down at appropriate times and
to adapt automatically to changing outside temperatures.
Central heating systems
A central heating system can be used to heat each building on your site. This is similar to the residential
model where one furnace or boiler produces heat which is distributed throughout the building through
air ducts or hot water pipes (hydronic heating). If you have a medium to large size building with several
rooms and/or floors, this is usually more efficient than having separate heaters for group of rooms. If
the system is well designed, areas that are used for different purposes can be heated to different
temperatures and on different schedules.
This type of system is easy to design because not much planning is required, no external piping is
necessary and no thought needs to be given to other buildings on site. It is usually more costly to
operate than a district heating system and the furnaces/boilers are often oversized.
District heating systems
Remote camps normally have a centralised generator and distributed heating. There is good reason why
each structure doesn’t have its own small generator to power itself – it’s very inefficient; yet; this is
exactly what most sites do for heating. Centralized heating needs more up front planning, but this
investment pays for itself quickly in reduced operating and maintenance costs.
District heating systems are often overlooked, but work well for sites that have more than one building
clustered together. This type of system uses one heating unit, usually a boiler, to heat a glycol solution
that’s piped between buildings and provides heating for all of the buildings, and often supplies the
domestic hot water and process hot water too. This type of system can be very efficient and has the
added benefit of only having one central heating plant to maintain. Zone valves can be used to control
the temperature for different buildings and areas of buildings.
4.2.2. Sizing
It is important for you to size your heating system for the building(s) it will be heating. A system that is
undersized will likely result in electric heating being used as a supplement in cold weather and this is a
very expensive way to heat a building. A system that is over-sized will constantly fire up and shut down
and will not run at its optimum efficiency, consuming more fuel than necessary.
4.2.3. Control systems
Installing programmable thermostats to control the temperature in different parts of the facility is a
cheap way to reduce your heating costs while giving you better control over the temperatures of
different spaces. More sophisticated computerised control systems are excellent for some remote sites,
but you should take care to choose the least complicated system that meets your needs.
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4.2.4. Fuel Choice
The best fuel for your site depends on fuel availability, storage and transportation costs amongst other
things. You might end up using diesel for some applications and propane for others. Diesel fuel contains
about 44% more energy than propane per litre, and is the most common fuel used for heating, mainly
because of lower transportation costs. There are diesel cooking appliances, but most kitchen staff are
more accustomed to working with gas cook stoves.
Propane is best used for appliances such as clothes dryers which are generally unavailable in diesel. High
efficiency propane space heaters of similar design to the diesel stoves described above exist.
Wood products, such as cordwood and wood pellets are a viable option for space heating for most
camps and lodges. Lodges in particular find that using a wood stove to supplement the primary space
heating system adds to the ambiance. Wood pellet boilers that can supply the primary space heating
needs are now available in the NWT, although, as with efficient diesel and propane systems, electricity is
required to operate them.
4.3.
Renewable Energy Systems - Heating
4.3.1. Wood and wood pellets
Wood, if it is harvested sustainably, is a renewable resource. When you’re planning your building’s
energy systems don’t forget that wood is an option for space heating and water heating. It might not
sound as impressive as solar panels, but if the wood is available locally, then it’s an option you should
certainly look into. If you want a heating fuel that flows automatically like diesel, then wood pellets is an
excellent choice. It has the added benefit of not causing environmental problems if it leaks – the pellets
will just turn back into a heap of soggy sawdust when they get wet, and you can shovel them up or leave
them to decompose. The availability of pellets and types of wood pellet appliances available in the NWT
has increased rapidly over the past few years, and more and more businesses are getting into installing
and maintaining them.
Wood and wood pellet stoves are a very good way to warm-up a space when you’re in it. They’re a great
option if you need supplemental heating in a commonly-used room.
A wood pellet boiler heats your water for space heating and domestic hot water, just like your oil boiler,
and also feeds automatically so you don’t need to refuel it every few hours.
4.3.2. Solar heating
The sun’s energy can be used to create heat. You feel this when you are wearing dark clothing in the
sunshine. This phenomenon can be used to our advantage to lower the volume of heating fuel required
to heat a building. The sun can be used to heat air, water or objects and is sometimes referred to as
solar thermal.
Passive solar design
All new buildings should be built with solar energy in mind. In order to take advantage of the heat
coming from the sun to heat the building during the heating season, more and larger windows should be
32
on the South side of the building, and fewer on the North side, which receives the least amount of
sunshine. Having a large thermal mass, such as a stone floor in the room the sun shines into can help
trap the heat when the sun is shining and release it gradually, throughout the night. By using passive
solar design principles, a portion of your heating can be offset. However, if the building is in use in the
summer too, it’s important to design it so that it doesn’t overheat. The last thing you want is to run an
air conditioning system on you generator! The overhang above your windows should be designed so
that the window receives full winter sun, but is shaded from the sun in the summer. If it isn’t possible to
do this using the overhang, awnings can be installed. If the building is below the treeline, planting
deciduous trees such as birch on the south side and letting them grow up can provide shade for the
whole side of the building and sometimes the roof too. Orienting the building so that you have a roof
slope facing South will make it easier to install solar panels on the roof.
When you select your windows, ensure you have some that can open to provide ventilation to reduce
your reliance on mechanical ventilation systems in the summer. You should only buy windows rated for
Energy Star zone D for the NWT.
Solar hot water
The sun’s energy can be used to heat water for space heating or for use as domestic hot water. Think of
the garden hose left outside in the sun and how hot the water in it gets. Solar hot water panels are more
efficient at using the sun’s energy than PV panels, however they produce useable energy in different
forms. PV panels produce electricity, which offsets the fuel you use in your generator whereas solar hot
water panels produce hot water, which reduces the fuel burned in your furnace or boiler. It is much
more efficient to heat water directly from the sun than to use a solar panel to generate electricity to
heat the water. Similar to PV panels, solar hot water panels need to have good solar exposure. Shading
is not as important with thermal applications as with PV because the heating lost is only proportional to
the area shaded, but you still want to get the most out of your investment by minimising shading. Why
put money into buying solar panels and then put them in the shade so they don’t do anything?
Solar hot water represents a mature and proven method of using renewable energy to heat water.
These systems can easily be added to existing buildings or integrated into new construction. While there
are many different solar thermal hot water systems, they all rely on the same basic operational
principles. Energy from the sun is used to pre-heat water or a glycol solution which then travels through
the conventional heater and is routed to a storage tank, ready for use. If the sun provides 70% of your
heating needs, your conventional heater only has to supply 30%. Some of the most common types of
solar hot water technology are listed below.
Flat Plate: these collectors consist of copper tubes with attached copper fins (to maximize the surface
area) housed in a black insulated box. The glycol solution passes through the tubes and the heat from
the fins and tubes is passed on to it as it travels through. Special low-reflectivity glass is used to keep the
heat from escaping from the tubes. These units tend to be robust and glass that is shatter resistant can
be ordered. Although their efficiency is lower than that of evacuated tube collectors in cold weather,
they are more efficient in warm weather, and they’re often a better choice for remote locations where
robustness and ease of transport are important.
33
Evacuated heat tubes: these collectors consist of copper pipes with attached fins which are inside a glass
cylinder that is commonly a vacuum tube. The glycol solution passes through a main pipe where it
collects the heat. The vacuum tubes provide excellent insulation and prevent heat loss to the air better
than flat plate collectors, so they’re generally more efficient in cold weather. They are more expensive
and more fragile than flat plate collectors.
Solar Air Heating
This technology uses the sun’s energy to pre-heat incoming fresh air, resulting in the conventional
furnace working less. It is a building integrated technology, and is suited to large structures such as
gymnasiums, warehouses and factories with large ventilation systems. It consists of building cladding
which is a perforated metal sheet installed with an air gap behind it. The sun warms up the metal and
air, which passes in through holes at the bottom and in the cladding, is heated up and drawn into the
building to replace stale air that is being exhausted by the building’s ventilation system. While this
technology can work for large or small buildings, it doesn’t work in buildings without ventilation systems
that take in fresh outdoor air.
34
5. Water
With the number of lakes in the NWT, and the seemingly endless supply of water, especially at remote
sites, water use may seem almost free; but that is not true. In fact, there is a lot of energy and money
spent on the transportation, treatment, disposal and heating of water. Energy is needed to pump that
water to and from your site (water is very heavy), energy is used to treat and dispose of the water, and
often the water needs to be heated. By using efficient and low-flow appliances, minimizing heat loss in
your water, improving your pumping efficiency, using efficient water heating devices and setting up an
intelligent water distribution system, you can save a lot of energy and money.
5.1.
Efficiency
Conserving water by using efficient appliances is a very simple way to conserve water and in turn
energy. You will find that most of the suggestions here have payback periods of less than a year.
5.1.1. Low flow devices
Toilet Flushing
Reducing water consumption from toilet flushing is a simple and effective way to reduce water use in
your facility. Remove the old toilets in your facility if they use more than 6 liters of water per flush and
replace them with certified low or dual-flush models. As a bare minimum you should look for models
with a flush performance of 350grams or more and using 6 litres per flush or less.
Showers and Faucets
Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can reduce water consumption and hot water heating costs
by up to 50%. Conventional showerheads use twice the water needed for a comfortable shower. These
devices have built-in water-flow restrictions that reduce the flow without much difference in the way
the shower feels. Look for models which use less than 9.4 litres of water per minute (LPM). Many
facilities suffer from low quality hardware, and a broken showerhead is less satisfying for a shower and
uses a lot more water and energy. Aerators can be easily installed on your faucets in the bathroom and
kitchen. They reduce the flow of water while maintaining pressure. They’re not generally recommended
for laundry or utility sinks because they reduce the flow so it takes longer to fill up a bucket of water.
They are most effective in locations where people leave the taps running while washing things. If water
being left running for too long is a problem, it is also possible to get showers heads and faucets that turn
off automatically after a period of time.
Dishwashers
Dishwashers consume most of their energy producing heat. The water must be heated by both the
facility’s water heater and the dishwasher’s own booster heater and there is heat generated to dry the
dishes. Dishwashers using less water have less water to heat. Air-drying the dishes instead of using the
built-in drying function saves you even more energy.
Look for the following when buying an efficient dishwasher:
 Energy Star label
 Low annual kWh consumption
35


Low gallons of water used / cycle
High Energy Factor (reflects the number of cycles performed per kWh)
Washing machines
Front loading washing machines are generally more efficient than top-load washers because they use
the less water, the least electricity and wring out the clothes better- so less drying is needed. By
choosing the wrong washing machine, you could be forcing yourself to use 5 times more electricity than
you need to wash a load of clothes. Washing in cold water and hanging items to dry reduce energy use.
Look for the following when buying an efficient washing machine:
 Energy Star label
 High modified energy factor (the number of cubic feet of laundry that can be washed
and dried using 1kWh of electricity)
 Low water factor (the number of gallons required to wash 1 cubic foot of laundry)
5.2.
Pumping and heating
5.2.1. Pumps and efficiency
Efficient water pumping provides a great opportunity for energy savings since modern efficient pumps
can use a fraction of the power of a conventional water pump. Pumps such as the Grundfos SQFlex
series can use 10-20% of the energy of a conventional submersible pumps. Pumps should be installed as
close to the water source as practical. All leaks in the hoses should be repaired as soon as they are
detected because leaks mean that the water you’ve just spent money on pumping out of the lake runs
out onto the ground and is wasted, and the system operates at a lower pressure. Regular inspection and
maintenance of water lines, with particular attention paid to joints is a cheap way to save energy on
water pumping.
Solar-powered, wind-powered and water-powered pumps also exist and can be used either directly with
DC motors or by using conventional AC-powered pumps and an inverter. DC powered pumps are more
efficient than AC, especially when using a DC power supply – you don’t lose efficiency in the conversion
from DC to AC and AC to DC. Solar and wind-powered pumps can be used to pump water into a storage
tank when the sun and wind are available and water can be drawn off the tank as needed, even when
there is no sun or wind.
5.2.2. Heaters
Heating water electrically with a diesel/electric system is very inefficient. 70% of the fuel energy is
wasted at the generator, making the electric system at best 30% efficient. Off-the-shelf propane or
diesel hot water heaters can easily achieve upwards of 90% efficiency. Avoid using electric hot water
heaters for your facility. There are three main types of water heaters you might consider for your camp:
tank, instantaneous and boiler coil. Regardless of the type you choose, you should keep the pipe lengths
as short as possible and insulate them.
36
Hot water tank
Hot water tanks are the most common type of hot water heater found in small buildings in the NWT.
Electricity, diesel, propane, another fuel or even the sun (solar thermal) is used to heat water in a tank
and keep it warm. Electric tanks should not be used in remote locations, for the reasons described
above. Hot water tanks are usually the cheapest of the three options to purchase and install, but they’re
also the least efficient. You can find some energy savings with tanks by turning the set temperature
down, this will require a bit of experimentation to determine how far you can turn it down while still
keeping the water hot enough for all your applications.
Instantaneous water heater
Instantaneous (tankless) heaters are 15-30% more efficient than the best tank type heaters, more if
you’re using an older system. They work by quickly heating the incoming cold water instead of storing it
and keeping it hot all the time. They serve hot water on demand, meaning that there is no running out
of hot water (unless you run out of water or gas). Although instantaneous heaters will continue to
produce hot water indefinitely, they do have a maximum flow rate so you need to estimate your water
consumption to ensure you buy a unit that is capable of meeting your peak hot water demand. When
heat recovery strategies are used, some systems end up being a combination of storage and
instantaneous heaters. Instantaneous water heaters running on heating oil are available from
Toyotomi. Numerous manufacturers make and sell propane instantaneous water heaters. Installing the
heater as close as possible to the point of water use will optimise the savings.
Hot water coil from your boiler
If you have a boiler supplying your space heating needs, you can heat water for your domestic hot water
or process needs using a coil inserted into the boiler. The hot water can be used directly or stored in a
tank. This can increase efficiency because one appliance is providing all of the heat and isn’t starting up
and shutting down constantly and it means that you have fewer heating appliances t maintain. It does
mean, however, that you can’t shut the boiler down in the summer unless you have an alternative hot
water heater.
37
6. Vehicles
Driving vehicles and machines around your site can be a large fuel user. By making the right choices
when purchasing a vehicle and by driving and maintaining your vehicle with fuel efficiency in mind, you
can realise fuel savings, reduced maintenance, and have a longer lasting vehicle.
6.1.
Fuel Efficient Driving Tips
Avoid idling. When vehicles idle needlessly, an astonishing amount of fuel is wasted.
For example, a vehicle with a 5-litre engine, every 10 minutes of idling costs half of a litre of fuel. Idling
for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel compared to restarting the engine.
Most Canadian fleet operators have implemented idling policies to reduce fuel costs- perhaps you could
benefit from doing the same. By not idling you also reduce noise and enjoy better-quality air from
reduced exhaust in the area.
Combine trips. By combining trips around the site (and to and from the site), you can save fuel, time and
money. Don’t drive with unnecessary loads. The added weight of heavy items will increase fuel
consumption. Carry only what you require. This extends to choosing the most appropriate vehicle for
the job. If driving a small car will allow you to get the job done safely, using a big truck is wasting fuel
because you’re carrying around extra weight and usually using an engine that is running inefficiently
because it was intended for heavier loads. Maintain your vehicle. Inflate your tires properly and they will
last longer and save fuel. Cold temperatures decrease the air pressure in tires. Read the owner’s
manual and follow the proper care instructions for the vehicle. Use a block heater to warm your engine
before you start it. Block heaters can improve fuel economy and can be fuel-fired.
6.2.
Vehicle selection
Fuel consumption varies greatly from one vehicle to the next. When purchasing a vehicle, consider the
following for maximum fuel economy:






Purchase the smallest, lightest vehicle practical for your needs. Normally the larger the
vehicle, the heavier the vehicle and the more fuel it consumes
If buying new, check the EnerGuide label for its fuel consumption rating or check the free
Fuel Consumption Guide for all cars, vans and light-duty trucks sold in Canada
Generally a manual transmission is more fuel-efficient than an automatic
Many convenience power options increase fuel consumption
Purchase a certified boat motor. California Air Resources Board (CARB) 3-star certified boat
motors are energy efficient. Some 4-stroke motors and some direct injection 2-stroke
motors are Carb 3-star certified
Purchase 4-stroke snowmobiles. They’re more efficient, don’t burn oil and make less noise.
38
39
Appendix A – Load Calculation Chart
To calculate the size generator, batteries or renewable electricity system you need for your site, you
must start with a load inventory – a list of the things that will be running off the electricity. The table
below is designed to help you collect the information you need and make the necessary calculations.
AC Appliances
AC appliances are most common; they can be plugged in to standard grid power. These appliances
usually have on the back a small tag with serial number and power consumption information. Usually,
the tag will not have the watts (W) that the unit consumes and instead has the amperage (A). You can
calculate the watts by multiplying the amperage by 120 Volts. If you use this tag, you should keep in
mind that the watts calculated are usually much higher than would be used in any sort of normal
operation.
Watts = Amps x Volts
DC Appliances
A DC appliance is anything that runs directly off the battery and does not go through the inverter. If you
are just starting your renewable energy system you may not have any items that run on DC power. In
that case just leave this portion of the table blank.
Usage
Hours/Day and Days/Week are the number of hours per day and days per week that the appliance is
running.
It can be tough to find the information required from every appliance in your household, so there is a
sample load inventory completed. You can use the values on that sheet if you cannot find the
information elsewhere, but keep in mind that these are typical values, and not necessarily the same as
what your numbers are.
Watt hrs (kWh) per week
To fill in the Watt hrs/week column, multiply the Watts that the appliance uses by the Hours/Day that
you specified and the Days/Week.
40
AC Appliances
DC Appliances
Hours
/
Days/
Appliances
Qty Watts Day Week
RADIO
1
15
Battery Recharger
20
Belt Sander 3"
1000
Blender
Circular Saw 8 1/4"
8
5
Hours Days Watt
/
/
hrs/
Watt hrs/
week
Appliances
600
INVERTER STANDBY
Qt Watt
Wee
y s Day k week
1
5
Battery Charger
40
1140
Cell Phone
3
1600
Halogen
20
Inverter Standby
5
Compact Flourescent
Light
Computer
60
Motor
70
Computer Monitor
84
Refrigerator/Freezer (SunFrost)
12
Colour TV (Tube)
286
Radio RX
4
Drill 1/2"
750
Radio TX
50
DVD
400
Stereo
15
Hair Dryer
1100
TV 14" Colour
70
Jigsaw
300
Laptop
1125
VCR
16
Water Pump
50
Microwave Oven
Power Tool
1350
Refrigerator/Freezer (16
cu ft)
380
Satellite TV
40
Toaster Oven
1550
Vacuum Cleaner
1025
Well Pump 1/3 hp
850
Total AC Watt Hours per Week
24
3
360
Total DC Watt Hours per Week
41
AC Appliances
Hours/
Appliances
QtyWatts Day
DC Appliances
Days/
Watt hrs/
Week
week
Total AC Watt Hours per Week
Hours/ Days/ Watt hrs/
Appliances
QtyWatts Day Week week
Total DC Watt Hours per Week
42
Appendix B – Pictures of Installations
7.5 kW Bergey wind generator on 100’ monopole tower
43
1 kW 48 VDC wind turbine on 60’ tilt-up tower.
44
Example of 7.5 kWp custom ground-mounted rack
2.1 kWp low-profile PV mount.
For locations with limited land space, or concerns such as animals, pole mounting is a good option.
These are mounted on a 8” SCH40 steel pipe which is 1/3 below the ground encased in 30” of concrete.
45
The modules on the left are on a tracking array, which follows the sun through the day.
The modules on the right are on a fixed array that is facing due south.
46
Drainback solar thermal installation. This system pre-heats hot water for 3 domestic hot water heaters +
dumps surplus thermal energy into some colder rooms in the building. Racking is shared with solar
Photovoltaic panels (bottom).
47
Microhydro Example – 48 VDC, 3 turbines, total 3 kW.
48
Microhydro Example – 500 kW Pelton wheel AC direct plant.
49
Appendix C – Case studies
Remote Wilderness Lodge
Introduction
This case study is a remote wilderness lodge in Southern Canada. It accommodates 30 guests and staff.
It had a 50 kW generator onsite at the beginning of the project. The generator was replaced with a
hybrid generator/battery system to allow for cycle charging.
Initial Data Collection
This graph represents the actual electricity demand the lodge. The highest loads on the generator are
under 40% of the generator’s capacity, illustrating that the generator is significantly oversized.
Lodge electrical demand survey Feb 24/25/26 2007
kW
20.00
18.00
16.00
14.00
12.00
10.00
8.00
6.00
4.00
2.00
0.00
Time
50
Data Collection After Installation of Hybrid Generator/Battery System
This graph represents the real-time generator cycling from the same lodge after installation of a hybrid
generator/battery system. The blue columns represent generator operation. The generator starts during
breakfast load, then power switches to batteries, and then the generator runs again at dinner load and
once through the night. This is a very efficient method of handling variable loads.
Results
The site reports a 60% savings in fuel after deployment of the hybrid system.
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Remote Guest Ranch
Introduction
This site is a 160 Acre guest ranch. It houses a family of 4, a staff of 6 and up to 20 guests. This site had a
small existing battery and solar system, but ended up running the generator 8hrs a day for an annual
fuel consumption of 12,000L. A combination of energy efficiency upgrades (lighting and phantom load
management) and operational and behavioural changes with the installation of a 4.5 kW solar
photovoltaic array allowed this site to have a 90% reduction in fossil fuel consumption.
Data Collection
Part of the design of this system included comprehensive metering systems. Below is an excerpt from
the first 6 months of system operation.
For example, at the ranch, we have been monitoring and measuring data on a daily basis for the newly
installed technologies. In April and May, the weather was spectacular most days, and during this time
frame we ran the generator for eleven hours total for those two months. In June, the weather was rainy
and overcast for most of the month, and total generator time for that month was 30 hours. Compared to
historical usage of eight hours average per day annually, this represents a 94%+ change (decrease in
fossil fuel [diesel] consumption) over the three-month period.
The following graphs show total change over the past six months.
Fossil Fuel (diesel) Consumption (in litres)
52
Results
The ranch used 3,494 litres of diesel fuel for electricity generation in the period April 1st- June 30th,
2009. This past quarter, in 2010, they used only 197 litres. At a price of eighty-five cents per litre for
farm diesel, the ranch saved $2,802.00 this quarter ($5,124.00 total savings for 2010 thus far).
By burning 3,297 fewer litres of diesel fuel from April 1st to June 30th, 2010, they reduced their
greenhouse gas emissions by 8,800 kilograms during this quarter. Since January 1st, they have reduced
greenhouse gases by 16,092 kilograms in total, which is the equivalent of taking 3 passenger vehicles off
the road for one year.
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Off-Grid Photovoltaics Case Study
Trout Rock Lodge
System Overview:
Solar photovoltaics (PV) were installed on
the garage roof of the remote Trout Rock
Lodge, located on the North Arm of Great
Slave Lake.
The owner, Ragnar
Wesstrom, had the panels installed to
reduce the diesel consumption of his
generator and to save money.
For maximum annual production, the panels
would all be facing South, with a 55° tilt for
this location. See the analysis at end of this
document for the difference in performance
with this configuration on the existing roof
compared with an optimal orientation.
The panels were installed in September
2009 and took 2 days to install. They are
on the garage roof, with 4 of the panels
facing Southeast at a 45° slope and 6 of
the panels facing Southwest at a 15°
slope.
As they were installed on the
existing garage, their orientation and
slope are preventing maximum electricity
production. The only difficulty they had
during installation was in transporting
the batteries to the lodge because of their
weight.
The cost of this system, including
installation, shipping and GST, was
$46,500. The Trout Rock Lodge received
a total of $41,200 in subsidies.
 $25,000 - Industry, Tourism &
Investment - Tourism
products
diversification marketing program
(this program is no longer available
but others are)
 $16,200- Environment & Natural
Resources
-Alternative
Energy
Technologies Program.
Ten 175W solar panels mounted at Trout Rock Lodge
Photo credits (All 3 this page): Ragnar Wesstrom
Photo
Eight batteries in shed
Two 3.6kW inverters in shed
54
Statistics
6450 L
Annual Liters of Diesel Saved
(Estimated based on diesel flown in
before and after the PV installation.
80% reduction:
60% during occupied winter months
90% during occupied summer months
Annual $ Savings
(Estimated based on fuel savings)
$12,900 / year
Annual Greenhouse Gas Emission
Reduction
(Estimated based on diesel savings)
17.4 tonnes CO2e
Potential Yearly Production
(Based on Retscreen analysis)
Optimal- All panels facing South, 55°
Current- Current panel configuration
2575kWh/year (optimal)
2172kWh/year (current)
Performance Data:
Diesel consumption in generator before and after PV installation
800
Monthly diesel consumption (L)
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
Typical year witthout PV
800
800
800
400
600
800
800
800
800
400
November December
200
800
Typical year with PV
300
300
200
50
50
50
50
50
100
50
50
300
The diesel consumption was estimated by Trout Rock Lodge from their delivered fuel.
Technical Data:
Number installed (Total
capacity)
Item
Solar panels
Sharp 175W
10 (1750 Wp)
Inverter
Outback power board inverter, including solar charge
controller, battery capacity monitoring system, surge
protection, battery bus protection, battery, inverter
cables
2 (7200 W)
Batteries
Surrette batteries
8 (52 kWh, 72h rate)
55
Possible Improvements:
Mounting solar panels in the North comes with a particular set of
challenges. For maximum annual production they should be
mounted facing South, at an angle that is approximately the
same as the latitude where they are located, unless trying to
optimize for certain times of the year (e.g. summer use only).
The Trout Rock Lodge could have potentially produced 15% more
power, had the panels been mounted differently. One solution
would have been to use a pole-mounted or ground-mounted
system (as shown in photo).
The Northwest Territories has great potential for PV, with between
900 and 1200 kWh annual production per kW installed, similar
to the rest of Canada. PV also operates more efficiently at colder
temperatures.
Pole mounted system in Behchoko.
Photo credit: Ventek Entreprises
56
Appendix D If you haven’t had enough yet ...
AEA has many resources available, some in hard copy, which we loan out, and others online:
http://www.aea.nt.ca/
Some other useful resources are:
Living off-grid in the Yukon – from the Yukon Energy Solutions Centre
http://www.energy.gov.yk.ca/pdf/living_offgrid09_web.pdf
Natural Resources Canada, Solar Water Heating Systems – A Buyer’s Guide
http://canmetenergy-canmetenergie.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/fichier.php/codectec/En/ISBN:0-662-284860/SOLAR-BuyersGuide-SolarWaterHeatingSystems_ENG.pdf
Natural Resources Canada, Photovoltaic Systems – A Buyer’s Guide
http://canmetenergy-canmetenergie.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/fichier.php/codectec/En/ISBN:%200-662-863062/Photovoltaic+Systems+-+Buyer%27s+Guide.pdf
Natural Resources Canada, Wind Energy Systems – A Buyer’s Guide
http://canmetenergy-canmetenergie.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/fichier.php/codectec/En/ISBN%200-662-377060/WindEnergy_buyersguide_ENG.pdf
Natural Resources Canada, Micro-hydro Power Systems – A Buyer’s Guide
http://canmetenergy-canmetenergie.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/fichier/79276/buyersguidehydroeng.pdf
Natural Resources Canada, transportation
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/personal/driving/autosmart-tips.cfm?attr=8
57
Appendix E Glossary
Amperage (Amp or “A” for short)
• Like water flowing through a pipe, electricity flows through a wire.
• An Amp is the amount of electricity flowing through a wire - this flow is called AMPERAGE or amps.
Also known as current.
Voltage (Volt or “V” for short)
• Like water flowing through the hose pipe, if you lift one end, gravity pushes the water through.
• A Volt is the pressure with which the electricity is pushed through the wire.
Power or Wattage (Watt or “W” for short)
• A Watt is the actual power generated from the amount of electricity flowing through a wire (AMP) x
the pressure with which it flows (VOLT).
• “A watt, is a watt, is a watt” as the saying goes.
• Watts = Amps X Volts.
Energy (Wh or kWh)
• Watt hours (Wh) and Kilowatt hours (kWh) are units of energy. Power = Energy / Time
• When people talk about how much energy an appliance consumes they use the unit kWh.
• This unit represents how much power something consumes in one hour of use - for example, if you
used a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours, you would have used 1000 Watt hours = 1 kWh.
• Amp/hour (Ah) is another way of measuring energy - kWh is a more universal measurement as Ah
will vary according to the system voltage.
Alternating Current (AC)
• AC electricity is the most common type of electrical power used today.
• Most generators produce AC power.
• Most common household appliances operate on AC.
• AC electricity is typically at a higher voltage, which is easier to transmit longer distances.
• It is called Alternating Current as the current changes directions constantly.
Direct Current (DC)
• DC power can be stored in batteries - AC power cannot.
• DC power is converted to AC by the use of an inverter.
• Many appliances that have a wall cube plug-in unit are operating on DC power.
• DC offers significant benefits for efficiency - DC motors are more efficient than AC motors.
• Many renewable energy systems will have some DC loads.
58
• Water pumps and refrigeration are commonly DC.
• Solar panels produce DC power.
• Common voltages include 12, 24, 48 Volts.
59
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