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Economic Feasibility Study of Electric-PV Heating System

Nicole Miller

SOLAR SEMINAR SERIES

DATE: 2012-12-13
TIME: 16:00:00 - 17:00:00
LOCATION: Ian Ross Seminar Room
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ABSTRACT:
The photovoltaic (PV) market has experienced a remarkably high rate of growth in recent times. An increase in the up take of domestic mounted roof top PV systems has been observed as a result of the dramatic reduction in the cost of PV systems and the fact grid parity is fast approaching in the majority of Australia.

Urban PV rooftop systems (on the retail side of electricity meters) threaten the business models of utilities. Consequently, there have been reductions in the feed-in tariffs available. For example, Melbourne has reduced the feed-in tariff to 8c/kWh compared with the general tariff of 20c/kWh. This encourages self-consumptions of the generated electricity in order to avoid the general tariff.

With domestic heating of water and space being the largest proportion of householdas energy usage, utilising the PV generated electricity for this purpose is an attractive prospect. The objective of this work is to determine whether a rooftop PV system coupled with a heat pump is able to deliver both water and space heating competitively with more conventional heating methods. Specifically, a comparison will be made with electric and gas heating, which are the most common methods found in Australian households.

An appropriate comparative cost model is built that will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each system. The model is built based on the scenario that a 3kW PV system already exists on the house and in order to employ the heat pump system the household would incur the additional cost of expanding to a 5kW system. Two locations, Melbourne and Canberra, will be analysed to highlight the impact that the different feed-in tariff available in the respective jurisdiction has in determining the most feasible system.


BIO:
Nicole is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Systems Engineering at the Australian National University. Nicole has developed her modelling and analytical skills through both her academic and professional experience. After completing her Commerce major in Finance, she completed an internship with the professional services firm PwC. The role involved significant use of Excel in creating models to forecast how major transactions would impact upon firm value. By also majoring in Renewable Energy Systems she has developed a particular interest in clean energy and alternative methods of producing electricity. Furthermore, Nicole is currently working part time with GHD within the Building Services division. The position has allowed Nicole to gain exposure to the design and delivery of engineering solutions that aim to maximise returns on capital investment and improve sustainability.



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