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Energies 2019, 12(5), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12050938

Quantifying the Benefits of a Solar Home System-Based DC Microgrid for Rural Electrification

1
Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
2
Klimop Energy, 7202 DD Zutphen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 11 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Smart Grids and Microgrids)
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Abstract

Off-grid solar home systems (SHSs) currently constitute a major source of providing basic electricity needs in un(der)-electrified regions of the world, with around 73 million households having benefited from off-grid solar solutions by 2017. However, in and of itself, state-of-the-art SHSs can only provide electricity access with adequate power supply availability up to tier 2, and to some extent, tier 3 levels of the Multi-tier Framework (MTF) for measuring household electricity access. When considering system metrics of loss of load probability (LLP) and battery size, meeting the electricity needs of tiers 4 and 5 is untenable through SHSs alone. Alternatively, a bottom-up microgrid composed of interconnected SHSs is proposed. Such an approach can enable the so-called climb up the rural electrification ladder. The impact of the microgrid size on the system metrics like LLP and energy deficit is evaluated. Finally, it is found that the interconnected SHS-based microgrid can provide more than 40% and 30% gains in battery sizing for the same LLP level as compared to the standalone SHSs sizes for tiers 4 and 5 of the MTF, respectively, thus quantifying the definite gains of an SHS-based microgrid over standalone SHSs. This study paves the way for visualizing SHS-based rural DC microgrids that can not only enable electricity access to the higher tiers of the MTF with lower battery storage needs but also make use of existing SHS infrastructure, thus enabling a technologically easy climb up the rural electrification ladder. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural electrification; solar home systems; DC microgrids; energy sharing; battery storage; multi-tier framework rural electrification; solar home systems; DC microgrids; energy sharing; battery storage; multi-tier framework
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Narayan, N.; Chamseddine, A.; Vega-Garita, V.; Qin, Z.; Popovic-Gerber, J.; Bauer, P.; Zeman, M. Quantifying the Benefits of a Solar Home System-Based DC Microgrid for Rural Electrification. Energies 2019, 12, 938.

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