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Demand response impacts on off-grid hybrid photovoltaic-diesel generator microgrids

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY10996, USA

Special Issues: Solar Energy for Remote Area Off-grid Electrification

Hybrid microgrids consisting of diesel generator set(s) and converter based power sources, such as solar photovoltaic or wind sources, offer an alternative to generator based off-grid power systems. The hybrid approach has been shown to be economical in many off-grid applications and can result in reduced generator operation, fuel requirements, and maintenance. However, the intermittent nature of demand and renewable energy sources typically require energy storage, such as batteries, to properly operate the hybrid microgrid. These batteries increase the system cost, require proper operation and maintenance, and have been shown to be unreliable in case studies on hybrid microgrids. This work examines the impacts of leveraging demand response in a hybrid microgrid in lieu of energy storage. The study is performed by simulating two different hybrid diesel generator—PV microgrid topologies, one with a single diesel generator and one with multiple paralleled diesel generators, for a small residential neighborhood with varying levels of demand response. Various system designs are considered and the optimal design, based on cost of energy, is presented for each level of demand response. The solar resources, performance of solar PV source, performance of diesel generators, costs of system components, maintenance, and operation are modeled and simulated at a time interval of ten minutes over a twenty-five year period for both microgrid topologies. Results are quantified through cost of energy, diesel fuel requirements, and utilization of the energy sources under varying levels of demand response. The results indicate that a moderate level of demand response can have significant positive impacts to the operation of hybrid microgrids through reduced energy cost, fuel consumption, and increased utilization of PV sources.
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Copyright Info: © 2015, Aaron St. Leger, licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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