Heartland receives Energy Innovator Award

June 30, 2020

Solar calculator recognized by American Public Power Association

Heartland Consumers Power District earned the 2020 Energy Innovator Award (EIA) from the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program.

The EIA award honors utilities that have developed or applied creative,
energy-efficient techniques and technologies. Awards recognize creativity, resource efficiency, benefits to utility customers, transferability, and project scope in relation to utility size.

During the summer of 2019, Heartland employed a college intern to develop calculator tools to help determine the annual benefit and cost of installing a renewable energy system, particularly a solar array. One calculator is for retail customers who want to install solar panels on their property, while the other is for the utility to determine the cost to the utility itself.

The solar calculators are complete and functional within the Microsoft Excel program. The tool allows the residential user to enter data such as state of residence, electricity cost, home electric usage, and solar array size/budget; and it will provide the user with estimated energy savings, cost savings, and potential payback.

These results are custom to the individual user based on the inputs and incorporate state/federal laws pertaining to distributed/renewable generation and applicable tax credits. In addition, a number of assumed average inputs (electricity cost, electric usage, solar cost, etc.) custom to the individual’s inputted location are included in the calculator in case the user does not have the data on hand. In addition, a calculator was developed that incorporates all the previously mentioned calculations into an algorithm that estimates the financial impact of a solar installation on a retail utility.

The calculator makes some assumptions but it does so based on answers to certain questions including geographic location, making it a useful tool for any utility.

The customer-focused calculator is available on Heartland’s website for public power utilities to utilize.

More deliverables, beyond the consumer-focused tool are accessible to DEED members from DEED’s Project Database.

Featured image: Heartland Director of Power Supply Adam Graff, Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland, and Director of Market Operations McCord Stowater stand with the APPA Energy Innovator Award.