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Optimal sizing of a hybrid grid-connected photovoltaic and wind power system

González, Arnau, Riba, Jordi-Roger, Rius, Antoni, Puig, Rita
Applied energy 2015 v.154 pp. 752-762
Mediterranean climate, case studies, electric power, electricity, electricity costs, energy, life cycle costing, market prices, models, retail marketing, solar radiation, wind, wind power, Spain
Hybrid renewable energy systems (HRES) have been widely identified as an efficient mechanism to generate electrical power based on renewable energy sources (RES). This kind of energy generation systems are based on the combination of one or more RES allowing to complement the weaknesses of one with strengths of another and, therefore, reducing installation costs with an optimized installation. To do so, optimization methodologies are a trendy mechanism because they allow attaining optimal solutions given a certain set of input parameters and variables. This work is focused on the optimal sizing of hybrid grid-connected photovoltaic–wind power systems from real hourly wind and solar irradiation data and electricity demand from a certain location. The proposed methodology is capable of finding the sizing that leads to a minimum life cycle cost of the system while matching the electricity supply with the local demand. In the present article, the methodology is tested by means of a case study in which the actual hourly electricity retail and market prices have been implemented to obtain realistic estimations of life cycle costs and benefits. A sensitivity analysis that allows detecting to which variables the system is more sensitive has also been performed. Results presented show that the model responds well to changes in the input parameters and variables while providing trustworthy sizing solutions. According to these results, a grid-connected HRES consisting of photovoltaic (PV) and wind power technologies would be economically profitable in the studied rural township in the Mediterranean climate region of central Catalonia (Spain), being the system paid off after 18years of operation out of 25years of system lifetime. Although the annual costs of the system are notably lower compared with the cost of electricity purchase, which is the current alternative, a significant upfront investment of over $10M – roughly two thirds of total system lifetime cost – would be required to install such system.