Owing to the intermittent nature of renewable energy, microgrids in islanding operation mode require backup power sources. The diesel generator is the most popular backup source, but does not offer an instantaneous start-up and cannot immediately provide the necessary power. Therefore, supercapacitors are used to assist the power balance during diesel generator start-up thanks to their responsiveness and high-power density. This paper proposed a power management strategy for an autonomous DC microgrid based on a photovoltaic source, electrochemical storage, a supercapacitor, and a diesel generator. The proposed control system aimed at power balance while accounting for the slow start-up characteristic of the diesel generator, the self-discharge of the supercapacitor, the dynamic load management, and the economic operating mode of the diesel generator. The main contribution of this paper centered on a power management strategy solving the above issues integrally, and economic analysis for the diesel generator and microgrid. Experimental studies were carried out for different scenarios and the results obtained confirmed the effectiveness of the proposed strategy. Furthermore, the study provided a comparison between the economic operating and load-following modes of the diesel generator and demonstrated that the economic operating mode of the diesel generator can reduce the total energy cost of the DC microgrid.
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