In total, about 22% of households would be interested in some form of DE, either for back-up, baseload generation, a utility dispatch leasing programme, or some combination of these.

The study, Residential Distributed Energy: Customer Views and Outlook, provides an up-to-date examination of the market for residential on-site generation in North America, and also reviews the growing markets for residential on-site generation in Europe and Japan, and efforts by some European and Japanese companies to bring their products to North America.

Primen found that many homeowners would be willing to accept fairly lengthy payback periods for their investments in baseload DE. Among households with US$100,000 in annual income, 36% say they would accept a payback of five years or longer while, for the general population, 22% would be willing to accept a similar return on investment.

North American utilities have so far been relatively inactive in the marketplace for residential DE equipment. That could change, however, if efforts to use residential DE for demand response prove successful, or if equipment vendors start actively selling baseload systems to households, says the report.

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Rural electrification in Angola

Atlas Copco has supplied, through its local distributor Blackwood Hodge (Angola) Ltd, seven generating sets for a remote rural electrification scheme in Angola. In addition to supplying the sets, Blackwood Hodge was also responsible for the installation of the necessary infrastructure such as power lines and reserve fuel tanks.

The new sets will provide electricity for remote villages in Angola. Four Atlas Copco QAS generating sets rated at 250 kVA and 300 kVA were initially installed. The remaining QIX units, each rated between 256 kVA and 550 kVA, were installed following the end of the rainy season in villages which can only be accessed via rough bush tracks. The units operate in parallel with a control module which routes the supply according to demand.

A multi-set installation was preferred for this application to ensure that a supply could be maintained when sets are taken out of service for maintenance or a major overhaul in the remote location. As part of the electrification contract with the Provisional Government of Angola, Blackwood Hodge will also maintain the installed systems.

Atlas Copco and its local distributor have also supplied several hundred generating sets to Angolan customers for industrial applications, schools, hotels, banks, embassies and governmental institutions.

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US power companies fight back on carbon