What are the factors you need to consider in the development of a renewable energy project?
There are many things to consider when developing a RE project. For example:
- Energy goals: how much will be produced or is needed?
- What type of energy will be produced (electricity and/or heat)?
- Resource availability: what type of energy source is available (wind, hydropower, biomass…)?
- Electricity Sales: net metering, power purchase agreement or standard offer contract
- Subjective preferences for particular technologies within the community
- Interconnection: grid-tied or off-grid installation
- Technical skills and abilities in the community
- General budget: how much can be spent now on development, staff, equipment and installation? Is there a plan for later expansion (i.e., addition of solar modules or additional turbines)?
- Interconnection ability
- Environmental impacts and requirements?
The Commission for Environmental Co-operation has done a lot of research to provide some answers and guidance on these issues. Their free book, Guide to Developing a Community Renewable Energy Project in North America, is available for download here. However, we have extracted the most pertinent pieces for you at this stage of your project planning. You can download the extracts here and here.