Performance Evaluation and Costs of a Combined Ground Source Heat Pump and Solar Photovoltaic Storage System in an Extreme Cold Climate: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

Dana Truffer-Moudra, Sarah Azmi-Wendler, Robbin Garber-Slaght, Prateek Shrestha, Qwerty Mackey, Conor Dennehy, Conor Dennehy (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELTechnical Report

Abstract

This report outlines the effectiveness and economics of a ground source heat pump system installed together with solar photovoltaic panels and a battery storage system in a local community building situated in a cold climate. The community building is a tribal building located in Ruby, Alaska. Power from solar photovoltaic panels is supplemented by electricity purchased from the local community microgrid. A ground source heat pump was commissioned three years after the building was occupied, and supplements the heat generated by a boiler for both heat and domestic hot water. Data collected over the 2021-2022 heating season shows that the heat pump is providing heat to the building about 19% of the time with an average coefficient of performance of 2.68, ranging from below 2.5 in winter to above 3.0 in summer. The solar photovoltaic panels provided 4,700 kWh of power used within the building and an additional 2,900 kWh exported to the microgrid. The solar-produced power used within the building nearly offsets the estimated annual electrical draw of the heat pump of 5,700 kWh. Due to the very high costs for shipping and installation to remote locations, projects such as this, while not economically feasible if self-funded, can save the community an estimated $76,051 over a period of 20-years. Fuel prices increasing by more than 25%, or subsidized electricity prices decreasing by more than 25%, make the ground source heat pump a more viable option economically. Unsubsidized electricity prices increasing by 25% or more make a solar photovoltaic system with battery storage nearly economically viable after a 20-year period for commercial or school buildings that are not eligible for Alaska's Power Cost Equalization program.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages47
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5600-84254

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102023-5816

Keywords

  • Alaska
  • cold climate
  • community microgrid
  • energy storage
  • extreme climate
  • ground source heat pump
  • heating
  • microgrid
  • photovoltaic
  • resilience

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