Hospital administrators know about the benefits of hospital microgrids, but they may question how they will be able to afford the upgrade to microgrid technology. Navigant Research found that there is an increasing demand for innovative DER financing options, and more organizations are searching for solutions that meet operational and efficiency needs without an impact on their daily operations. This is not an easy request, but it can be achieved! Continue reading to learn about hospital microgrids that are affordable to implement and operate.
Microgrid Financing Options
Before upgrading to microgrid technology, the hospital team must first consider the state of the current infrastructure. If equipment needs a replacement, the timing might be right to replace the equipment with parts of a complete microgrid solution. There will also be considerations involving local tariff and demand structures and local natural gas pricing, as these will influence the viability of installing onsite energy resources. However, if the factors point towards a microgrid solution, then it is time to consider how to finance and operate the new infrastructure. There are two main options to consider: the customer-owned model and the energy-as-a-service (EaaS) model.
The customer-owned model involves the hospital owning the microgrid and having full control of the system, the benefits, and the financial return. While this seems like a great option, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the microgrid will be a significant capital expense and the financial, technical, and operational risk will all fall to the hospital.
The EaaS model could include multiple parties, such as a vendor, financier, and the local utility. The agreement can include a range of concepts, such as equipment leases and energy asset concession agreements, efficient savings agreements, and power purchase agreements. The hospital will usually pay a monthly fee to a third-party microgrid owner/operator who will take on the capital investment and the financial/operational risk.
While you are trying to make a microgrid solution more affordable, look for any policies and incentives that promote microgrids and renewables in your hospital’s region of operation. For example, you may find tax credits that cover a portion of solar and microgrid installation costs, policies that exempt a hospital from interconnection study fees (which are an essential part of a microgrid project,) and grant programs that provide partial funding. Schneider Electric offers complete microgrid expertise and integrated solutions for hospitals, so if you are interested in learning more, check out our microgrid solutions page!
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