Performance of U.S. hybrid distributed energy systems: Solar photovoltaic, battery and combined heat and power

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Until recently, the relatively high levelized cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) technology limited deployment; however, recent cost reductions, combined with various financial incentives and innovative financing techniques, have made PV fully competitive with conventional sources in many American regions. In addition, the costs of electrical storage have also declined enough to make PV + battery systems potentially economically viable for a mass-scale off-grid low-emission transition. However, many regions in the U.S. (e.g. Northern areas) cannot have off-grid PV systems without prohibitively large battery systems. Small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) systems provide a potential solution for off-grid power backup of residential-scale PV + battery arrays, while also minimizing emissions from conventional sources. Thus, an opportunity is now available to maximize the use of solar energy and gain the improved efficiencies possible with CHPs to deploy PV + battery + CHP systems throughout the U.S. The aim of this study is to determine the technical viability of such systems by simulating PV + battery + CHP hybrid systems deployed in three representative regions in the U.S., using the Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewable (HOMER) Pro Microgrid Analysis tool. The results show that the electricity generated by each component of the hybrid system can be coupled to fulfill the residential load demand. A sensitivity analysis of these hybrid off grid systems is carried out as a function capacity factor of both the PV and CHP units. The results show that conservatively sized systems are technically viable in any continental American climate and the details are discussed to provide guidance for both design and deployment of PV + battery + CHP hybrid systems to reduce consumer costs, while reducing energy- and electricity-related emissions.

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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher's version of record:https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2015.07.048

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Energy Conversion and Management