The cyclical nature and high investment costs of the wind and photovoltaic renewable energy sources are the two critical issues seeking attention for the use of such systems in backup or isolated applications. This paper aims to present the experimental and economic analysis of a wind–photovoltaic-based hybrid direct current microgrid (DCMG) system for backup power and off-grid isolated power generation system for emergency purposes. The two distributed generating units comprising photovoltaic panels and wind generator were designed and developed for the experimental study. A lead-acid battery is also added as an energy storage system to enhance the system supply. The electric load of this system comprise of 42 DC light emitting diode (LED) lamps of 12 Watt each and a 25 Watt DC fan. The charge controller provides the control and protection features for the designed system. The complete system design and fabrication of this system have been undertaken at Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET, Jamshoro, Pakistan). The compatibility of the designed system has been analysed by comparing the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) with a conventional gasoline generator system of the same capacity. The capital, running and lifetime costs of DCMG are found to be 1.29, 0.15 and 0.29 times those of the gasoline generator, respectively. Moreover, it is found that per unit cost of gasoline generator is $0.3 (i.e., PKR 31.4) which is almost 3.4 times higher than that of the hybrid DCMG system. The performance and cost evaluation of the designed system indicate its broad potential to be adopted for commercialisation to meet backup power and off-grid power requirements. This study concludes that proposed DCMG system is a not only low cost, but also a pollution-free alternative option compared to the existing traditional small gasoline generator system.
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