System design

Sizing the project

A cost-efficient design of a hybrid power system must precisely match the production capacity and local demand. Unintentional over-sizing of the generation capacity increases the capital and running costs, producing a surplus of electricity which is not used.

Under-sizing capacity results in unavailability of power and resulting dissatisfaction among end-users, which can lead to the failure of the project (which can have dramatic regional impact, as the consumer’s satisfaction is vital not only for the project, but also for its broader replication).

It is critical to get the generation capacity just right to ensure a successful project.

Demand load dimension

Estimating electricity demand requires a certain level of field work. The demand will vary during the day and throughout the year. Domestic users will use more electricity during evenings (for lighting, entertainment, and cooking), and reduce their use during the day. The distribution during the whole week and the definition of the peak demand are important as they define the maximum capacity that the system has to produce at a precise instant. The hybrid mini-grid has to be prepared to supply all the users’ needs.

The issue of over-dimensioning has to be carefully considered and addressed right from the early design stage, and has to be scalable as consumer demand grows.

Load Management Strategies

The main goal of a hybrid power system is to match the resources with the demand for energy.   Due to the combination of the different technologies, it is important to manage them correctly to maximize the performance and decrease costs.