Microgeneration of electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is a sustainable form of renewable energy, however uptake in Ireland remains very low. The aim of this study is to assess the potential of the community-based roof top solar PV microgeneration system to supply electricity to the grid, and to explore a crowd funding mechanism for community ownership of microgeneration projects. A modelled microgeneration project was developed: the electricity load profiles of 68 residential units were estimated; a community-based roof top solar PV system was designed; an electricity network model, based on a real network supplying a town and its surrounding areas, was created; and power flow analysis on the electrical network for system peak and minimum loads was carried out. The embodied energy, energy payback time, GHG payback time, carbon credits and financial cost relating to the proposed solar PV system were calculated. Different crowdfunding models were assessed. Results show the deployment of community solar PV system projects have significant potential to reduce the peak demand, smooth the load profile, assist in the voltage regulation and reduce electrical losses and deliver cost savings to distribution system operator and the consumer.
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