For many businesses, opting for a CHP system is a choice designed to save money. Those who are heavily dependent on energy, including the leisure industry and hospitality sector, rely on these self-contained units to help them stay consistently active to their customers’ needs. With any large-scale energy alteration in a building, you can expect costs.

And while systems offer a return on investment within 3 years, budgeting for these expenses can be significant. In this guide, we’ll give you a rundown of expected costs and what you can expect to save over time too.

Why Choose a CHP System?

As we mentioned above, one of the key reasons why businesses opt for CHP Systems is to save money. By utilising the previously wasted thermal energy, you will reduce the dependency on your electrical supply to heat water or space within a property. This also allows you to optimise on your energy use, making sure that every penny you spend is being put to good use.

However, alongside the money-saving benefits, CHP systems also help to:

  • Improve the efficiency of your fuel use.
  • Reduce your corporate emissions – especially when using biomass or natural gas.
  • Give you independence from the mains supply and security when it comes to your power supply.
  • Make your business exempt from the Climate Change Levy for energy costs.

Traditional electricity generation systems tend to generate high levels of heat waste. This can account for as much as ⅔ – meaning you could lose 66% of the energy supplied to your system. CHP systems counteract this, taking this heat and utilising it to create hot water and heating. And, as a result, they help businesses to achieve efficiencies of around 80% as a comparison.

CHP systems are also sustainable – especially if fuelled with natural gas. Because they generate both heat and power, they eliminate the need for a separate generation of both of these energies. And, this in turn reduces emissions and helps to minimise the carbon footprint of a business. The benefits here are both financial and environmental which is especially relevant if your business is focused on creating a more sustainable working pattern.

How Much are CHP Systems?

When budgeting for a CHP system in your business, it pays to understand that costs vary from unit to unit. The right combined heat and power set-up for your business provides you with a saving on costs and accurately supplies you with the right amount of energy. They are ideally suited to energy-rich businesses, due to the fact that you only truly make savings if the unit is running near-continuously. We recommend these units for properties that need energy for around 4000-5000 hours per year. Working with a specialist team is the best way to ensure you get the most out of yours.

These specialists are also best placed to give you an accurate quote. For example, our team here at Energimizer, offer full site surveys that take into account factors including:

  • Whether the site has a 3-phase electrical supply.
  • Daily operational hours.
  • Days operational per week.
  • Shutdown periods.

With this information, we can advise what type of CHP system will best meet your needs. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere in the region of £30,000 to £100,000 for your unit, depending on the demands of each site. On top of this, you will need to factor in installation costs. While most systems are independent and just need to be linked into your property’s structure, they still need to be fitted by a specialist who can ensure they are up and running appropriately.

We highly recommend booking in for a survey or speaking to a CHP industry expert before deciding whether this is the best solution for you.

CHP System Types

There are 4 main types of combined heat and power systems – each of which has its own associated costs.

Reciprocating Engine CHP Systems

Fuelled with natural gas and available up to 1MW, reciprocating engines offer more flexibility than other options. Due to their design, they can be switched off when a business shuts down or requires less energy. It is also possible to keep these units running but at a lesser capacity, without significantly reducing efficiency.

Because of their versatility, reciprocating engines are available in a multitude of sizes to suit all properties, from residential through to industrial. On average, you will expect to pay anything from £50,000+ for a commercial-grade CHP model.

MicroCHP Turbine CHP Systems

Again fuelled by natural gas, micro CHP turbines are a sustainable alternative. Due to the fact that they can be constructed with higher capacity, they are ideal for medium-to-large sized corporate businesses. Most models available on the market come in sizes up to 200kW but can be combined to increase this capacity.

MicroCHP turbines can not be turned off but require minimal maintenance so can be a cost-effective option for energy-rich businesses. You can expect to pay around £60,000 to have one installed, on average.

Fuel Cell CHP Systems

One of the newer technologies on the market, fuel cell CHP systems started their lives in the aerospace industry before moving into commercial heating. They range in size from 200 – 2,000kW and are favoured for several reasons. Because these systems use an electrochemical process instead of a combustion fuel, they are kinder to the environment. Using them can reduce emissions significantly, making them the most viable option for businesses to keep on cutting their carbon footprint.

Due to the newer technology and installation requirements, fuel cell CHP systems come with an added cost. You can expect to pay upwards of £100,000 to have one installed with most sitting in the region of £500,000.

Gas Turbine CHP Systems

These larger-scale systems are best used within industrial applications. This is because they are more efficient when sized above 5MW. When used appropriately, gas turbine CHP systems can improve efficiency to as much as 70%. And, to get the most out of them, we recommend ensuring they run constantly. On average, you’ll spend somewhere between £750,000 having one of these models installed into your property.

Benefits To Your Business

The initial costs may be significant. But, the benefits of your business can be just as substantial. Estimates state that a cogeneration system can provide businesses with savings in the region of 30-40%. And, this can increase significantly when using larger systems or creating more energy.

Here at Energimizer, we specialise in bringing our customers the best options for their combined heat and power systems. With over 20 years of experience, we’re here to ensure you get a good return on investment while understanding the options available to you. For more information about costs, or to get an accurate quote for your business, contact our specialist team here today.