- Step 1. A microgrid is designed that meets the electrification needs of the households of the typical village considered. Through this investigation, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is determined. A sensitivity analysis takes place in terms of the maximum allowed annual capacity shortage, the loads not met, and the electricity lost.
- Step 2. A microgrid is designed to meet the needs of both the households and also a deferrable load. In the focal case study, the deferrable load considered is maize milling to produce flour.
- Step 3. The possibility of an agricultural cooperative investing in a mill powered by a photovoltaics (PV)/battery system in order to be able to sell maize flour instead of dry maize is considered.
- Step 4. An investigation takes place on whether the cooperative system can be extended to a microgrid to power the local households.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Case Study Assumptions
2.2. Simulation Software, Assumptions and Parameters
3. Systems Sizing and Economic Investigation of Rural Electrification
3.1. Step 1: Sizing of a System to Meet the Household Needs
- Figure 5 presents two typical days of the year for Case 1.2, which further showcase how the system operates under excess power and unmet load. On July 1st, the solar irradiation is low and, as such, the PV produced power is low. The battery bank starts at 15% state of charge. The morning load is able to be met by the PV production and the battery, and even though the PV production is low throughout the day, the load is met until the evening. From then on, the battery reaches 10% state of charge and all loads are disconnected. The load is going to be served again when the battery gets charged by the PV array. On the 22nd of October, the PV array produces power from early in the morning until late in the evening. The battery gets full and is able to meet the load in the evening hours when the sun has set. For almost seven hours, the battery remains full, and during this time the produced power is lost because there is no extra storage capacity.
- The LCOE is extremely high in all cases and it is very difficult to sell electricity at that price. For reference, grid kWh for Rwanda is sold between 0.12 € and 0.18 €.
- Such an investment would need a high amount of grant money to cover the CAPEX in order to become viable.
3.2. Step 2: Addition of a Deferrable Load
- The LCOE is able to drop to ~1.8 € kWh−1, which is considerably lower than the systems that supplied electricity only to households in Step 1.
- For Case 2.2, the excess electricity is 5.29%, so a significant improvement is observed in relation to the systems that targeted only households.
- For Cases 2.4 and 2.5, almost all of the produced electricity is consumed; however, there is a high percentage of unmet load. As such, the LCOE increases.
- An investor would most probably choose Case 2.2 because it has the lowest LCOE than all the other cases.
- Considerably less electricity is wasted from the system using a deferrable load. Figure 6 graphically presents the cumulative served load, the unmet load, the excess load, and the deferrable load throughout the year for Case 2.2. As can be seen, much less energy is wasted in comparison with the system from Step 1.
- Figure 7 presents two typical days of the year for Case 2.2, which further showcases how the system operates under excess power and unmet load. July the 1st is a day with low PV production, and the performance observed is comparable with the system in Step 1. As is expected, the deferrable load is not activated at all during this day. On the 22nd of October, the PV array produces power from early in the morning until late in the evening. The battery gets full and is able to meet the load in the evening hours when the sun has set. The deferrable load is activated for 9 h and, as such, much less electricity is wasted in comparison with the system in Step 1.
3.3. Step 3: Agricultural Cooperative Business Expansion
3.4. Step 4: The Local Agricultural Cooperative as the Village Household Electrification Investor
4. Environmental Benefits of Decentralized Agricultural Activity
Conflicts of Interest
|AFD||Agence Française de Développement|
|DESCO||Distributed energy services company|
|ESMAP||Energy Sector Management Assistance Program|
|FAO||Food and Agriculture Organization/|
|FAOSTAT||Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics|
|LCOE||Levelized cost of electricity|
|OECD||Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development|
|SDG||Sustainable Development Goal|
|SOC||State of Charge|
|WBG||World Bank Group|
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|Attributes||Tier 0||Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4||Tier 5|
|Peak available capacity (W)||-||>3||>50||>200||>800||>2000|
|Evening supply (h)||-||≥1||≥2||≥3||≥4||≥4|
|Reliability||-||-||-||-||Max 14 disruptions per week||Max 3 disruptions per week of total duration <2 h|
|Quality||-||-||-||-||Voltage problems do not affect the use of desired appliances|
|Affordability||-||-||-||Cost of a standard consumption package of 365 kWh y−1 <5% of the household income|
|Legality||-||-||-||-||Bill paid to the utility, pre-paid card seller, or authorized representative|
|Health and Safety||-||-||-||-||Absence of past accidents and perception of high risk in the future|
|Tier 0||Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4||Tier 5|
AND Phone charging
AND Television AND Fan (if needed)
Any medium-power appliances
Any high-power appliances
Any very high-power appliances
|Monthly Average Revenue per user||7 USD|
|Average Investment per user||920 USD|
|Tier 2 Average Residential Consumption||11 kWh m−1|
|Average Generation Capacity||34 kW|
|Average Number of Connections||~100|
|A/C vs. D/C||85% vs. 15%|
|Operational Expenditure (OPEX) as a % of revenue||58%|
|Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) payback period||>7 years|
|Split of CAPEX spending on distribution vs. generation||50% vs. 50%|
|Average Distance from National Grid||23 km|
|Year||Cultivated Area (ha)||Production (t)||Yield (t ha−1)|
|Lighting||2 W||Three LED lamps were considered for each household|
|Cell phone charging||5 W||Typical USB charger|
|Television||15 W||In line with the consumption of 19–22 inch TVs that won the Global LEAP awards |
|Radio||2 W||Typical energy efficient radio|
|Min Power||0 W||For 100 households|
|Max Power||2100 W|
|Average Power||291.67 W|
|Energy per day||7000 Wh|
|Photovoltaic panels, including inverter cost for AC microgrid topology.||0.750 € Wp−1|
|Grid forming inverter cost||3500 €|
|Transportation and installation cost||5000 €|
|AC and DC equipment including cabling, equipment, appliances, consumables etc.||8000 €|
|Supplementary costs (e.g., fencing)||2000 €|
|Smart meters/monitoring system||5000 €|
|LiFePO4 batteries||600 € kWh|
|Operation and Maintenance cost||1% of Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) |
|Grid infrastructure cost||10,000 €|
|Case No||Annual Capacity Shortage Allowed||PV (kWp)||Batteries (kWh)||CAPEX (€)||OPEX (€)||Net Present Cost (€)||Levelized Cost of Electricity (€ kWh−1)||Unmet Load||Excess Electricity|
|Case No||Annual Capacity Shortage Allowed||PV (kWp)||Batteries (kWh)||CAPEX (€)||OPEX (€)||Net Present Cost (€)||Levelized Cost of Electricity (€ kWh−1)||Unmet Load||Excess Electricity|
|PV (kWp)||Batteries (kWh)||CAPEX (€)||OPEX (€)||Net Present Cost (€)||Levelized Cost of Electricity (€ kWh−1)||Unmet Load||Excess Electricity|
|kWh y−1||%||kWh y−1||%|
|PV (kWp)||Batteries (kWh)||CAPEX (€)||OPEX (€)||Net Present Cost (€)||Levelized Cost of Electricity (€ kWh−1)||Unmet load||Excess Electricity|
|kWh y−1||%||kWh y−1||%|
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