A Residential Micro-Grid in an Unreliable Grid Context

Chianese, Domenico and Rivola, Davide and Shrestha, Jagan Nath and Zahnd, Alex (2014) A Residential Micro-Grid in an Unreliable Grid Context. In: 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014), 22-25 Set 2014, Amsterdam. The Netherlands.

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The electricity network in developing countries is often characterized by a weak stability of voltage and frequency, frequent accidental power cuts, high losses in the distribution network and regular planned load shedding schemes. All these issues prevent normal access to electricity by the population, inhibiting and impoverishing the whole country. One approach to overcoming these issues is to switch from the centralized paradigm of old power production schemes to a new decentralized generation of power. Needs and difficulties in developing countries are different compared to residential and SME in developed countries. Therefore, new inverters which are suitable in power range and settings for a decentralized residential PV system with backup are needed. In this project we explore the technical challenges to connecting small residential grid-connected (GC) PV systems with and without storage capabilities. The first five small photovoltaic residential systems (1.1kWp) were installed in the Kathmandu Valley in October 2012. Three locations reflecting the typical conditions of the electricity grid in Kathmandu were chosen. Load shedding and power cuts occur during 38.1% of the time (9.2 hrs/day and ranging from 6.7 to 12 hrs/day). In the reference location without load shedding, three PV systems produced an average of 1600 kWh/kWp annually. With load shedding, production was 44% lower. In the third location a residential microgrid with a 9.6kWh storage system generated 15% lower energy compared to the reference location but delivered energy 100% of the time

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