COMPARISON BETWEEN MINI-SOLAR ENERGY STATIONS AND CONNECTION. WITH ELECTRICAL GRID: THE INFLUENCE OF DISTANCES AND DIMENSIONS

Constantinos CHRISTOFIDES

Photoacoustic and Photothermal Sciences Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto,
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A4, CANADA

ABSTRACT

The aim of this work is to address the following problem: what is the best choice economically for a small village without electricity situated some kilometres from an electrical grid; connect the village with the grid, or install a photovoltaic system? This study is a technio-economic evaluation methodology based on the present value analysis. This methodology presents the competitiveness of the photovoltaic (PV) energy vis-a-vis grid extension in terms of the distance-population density parameter and the annu­al solar radiation in the location. It could be a forecast for the next two decades and concerns small and average villages without any industrial activities. The variables used are the distance, L between the electrical grid and the site of the PV center and the number of houses, NH, in the village. Three scenarios have been used to estimate the role which the PV power system will play in the near future.

INTRODUCTION

In many developing countries, electrical networks for rural people are poorly developed. Thousands of small and average villages live without electricity, although many of them are only a few kilometers from electrical grids. Even in the industrialized countries an important number of small communities (or isolated sites) have the problem of the electrical energy leak. During the last twenty years more and more sites appear to be appropriate for the installation of photovoltaic power systems (PVPS). It seems that the PVPS technology is in a position to fill the resulting electricity gap [1].

The aim of this paper is to address the following problem; what is the best choice economically for a small village (or community) without electricity, situated some kilometres from an electrical grid; con­nect the village with the grid, or install a PVPS? This study will consider as variables the distance, L, between the electrical grid and the village, as well as the number of houses, Nh, in the small village.

We are going to deal with the hypothesis that the community belongs to a developing country. Three different scenarios will be used to estimate the role which PVPS will play in the near future: Scenario 1: the kWh’s price increases by 0% per year Scenario 2; the kWh’s price increases by 7.5% per year Scenario 3: the kWh’s price increases by 15% per year

The second section of this paper is a technical evaluation of the PVPS size needed by the commun­ity. An evaluation of the principal equipments and the cost of electrical transport are presented in the third sectioa The last section which is devoted to the estimation of the electrical energy consumption of the model village formulates a choice between the PVPS and the joining with an electrical grid.

Updated: August 19, 2015 — 12:53 pm