In Africa, electrification of rural areas are low and off-grid power supply is needed. Often diesel generators are used to provide local electricity supply. However, the tremendous decrease in the costs of photovoltaics provides an attractive option to substitute existing diesel generation or to build up a new electricity supply in those locations, lowering power costs and environmental impact. Photovoltaics (PV) hybrid system combines photovoltaics with diesel generators and batteries. The design of PV hybrid systems requires an in-depth analysis of load, solar resources and the interaction between PV, diesel generator and storage for the appropriate sizing of components. The team at CIRE TH Cologne has undertaken several projects to examine the feasibility of such PV hybrid systems in different African locations, e.g. a generic Senegalese village in the Thies region. In addition, a modelling tool was developed to analyze the benefits and optimum setup of PV hybrid systems. Furthermore, hands-on experience was gained by installing a PV hybrid system in Ghana, proving the local benefits of this rather new energy source.
Key words: Photovoltaic hybrid system, load profiles, energy system modelling, photovoltaics project planning, installation.
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