Off-grid community electrification projects based on wind and solar energies: A case study in Nicaragua

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Ranaboldo, Matteo ; Domenech, Bruno ; Reyes, Gustavo Alberto ; Ferrer Martí, Laia ; Pastor Moreno, Rafael ; García Villoria, Alberto (2015)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2015.05.005
  • Subject: Rural electrification | Resource assessment | :Energies::Energia eòlica [Àrees temàtiques de la UPC] | :Desenvolupament humà i sostenible::Desenvolupament humà [Àrees temàtiques de la UPC] | Rural electrification with renewable energies | Developing-countries | Case study | :Energies::Energia elèctrica::Electricitat [Àrees temàtiques de la UPC] | Microgrids | Optimization | Power-system | Design | Wind power - Nicaragua | :Energies::Recursos energètics renovables [Àrees temàtiques de la UPC] | Electrificació rural - Nicaragua | Energia eòlica - Nicaragua | Rural electrification - Nicaragua

Despite various institutional efforts, about 22% of the total Nicaraguan population still do not have access to electricity. Due to the dispersed nature of many rural inhabitants, off-grid electrification systems that use renewable energy sources are a reliable and sustainable option to provide electricity to isolated communities. In this study, the design of an off-grid electrification project based on hybrid wind-photovoltaic systems in a rural community of Nicaragua is developed. Firstly the analysis of the location, energy and power demands of all users of the community is carried out. A detailed resource assessment is then developed by means of historical data, in-situ wind measurements and a specific micro-scale wind flow model. An optimization algorithm is utilized to support the design defining generation (number, type and location of generators, controllers, batteries and inverters) and distribution (electric networks) systems considering the detail of resource variations. The algorithm is modified in order to consider a long-term perspective and a sensitivity analysis is carried out considering different operation and maintenance costs' scenarios. The proposed design configuration combines solar home systems, solar based microgrids and wind based microgrids in order to connect concentrated groups of users taking advantage of best wind resource areas. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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