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On-Site Power: The Sun, CHP, and Storage Working Together

This past week I went to a conference focused on on-site power. It was an incredibly informative conference that looked to meld the worlds of solar PV, CHP (combined heat and power) and storage. The three technologies together make for a new vision of energy. In fact, this was the entire focus of the conference – New York State’s new Reforming Energy Vision (REV) program. It is highly important work that New York State and all New York companies are doing to take a step back and see how we can update our grid and access/create energy so that it fits our twenty-first century needs.

Here is a short summary of how these power strategies work — and how they can work together.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

PV provides a tremendous amount of power when the grid needs it most, during peak times – daytime and summertime. This helps the grid during its most vulnerable times. Solar PV greatly reduces kWh consumption, thus saving the business or municipality lots of money.

Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

In my layman’s description, CHP includes a natural gas turbine that works on-site to create electricity, providing independence and covering base load requirements at the site. There is a large amount of heat created as a result of this process. The heat then can be converted to electrical energy. If sized correctly, the CHP system can greatly reduce demand charges on your electrical bill.


Storage is the buzz technology that everyone sees as a way to provide a reliable and consistent source of power when the sun is not shining.

“The three technologies together make for a new vision of energy.” –Chris Hale, President, SunBlue Energy

Marrying these technologies together is a great fit to provide reliable, consistent energy that helps a school, business or municipality save a lot of money on energy costs. It also helps them maintain energy and independence when the grid is down.

The conference brought all three disciplines together, as CHP providers mixed with storage developers who mixed with solar installers like SunBlue Energy. It is highly beneficial to reforming our energy vision to bring all these parties together. A fireside chat with Richard Kaufman, New York State’s “energy czar,” was enlightening and really crystalized the goal of the REV program and why it is needed.

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