Off-grid power generation is meant to supply remote or rural area, where grid connection is almost impossible in terms of cost and geography, such as island, aborigine’s villages, and areas where nature preservation is concern.Harnessing an abundance renewable energy sources using versatile hybrid power systems can offer the best, least-cost alternative solution for extending modern energy services to remote and isolated communities.
The conventional method for off-grid power generation is using diesel generator with a renewable energy (RE) technology utilizing solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass, biogas and/or mini/micro hydro. A hybrid technology is a combination of multiple source of energy; such as RE and diesel generator and may also include energy storage such as battery.
A hybrid system is a combination of one or more resources of renewable energy such as solar, wind, micro/mini-hydropower and biomass with other technologies such as batteries and diesel generator. Particularly, the solar hybrid system developed with a combination of solar with battery and diesel generator.As an off-grid power generation, the hybrid system offers clean and efficient power that will in many cases be more cost-effective than sole diesel systems. As a result, renewable energy options have increasingly become the preferred solution for off-grid power generation. The system has been installed at the middle and top stations at the Langkawi Cable Car facilities. It is a resort area located in the Island of Langkawi, Malaysia.
A robust power supply and downtime minimization during power outages could be achieved by virtue of varying the power sources, which is vital indeed due to its ability to provide backup power. System failure or disruption of diesel supply to the community are factors leading to utilizing an alternate generating system encompassing renewable energy / diesel hybrid system as to encourage continuous and reliability power supply. Photovoltaic and wind energy system attributive to fewer moving parts, requiring less maintenance than diesel, thus reduces downtime during repairs or routine maintenance. In fact, renewable energy sources being indigenous and free, is more secure than diesel thus, beneficial to facilities.
Improved energy services
The ability of renewable energy working in tandem with diesel, contributes to high quality and dynamic electricity services for 24 hours / day whilst in a conventional system, the high diesel operating costs limits the power supply only to 12 hours / day. The cost of photovoltaic or wind power generation lies in the form of upfront capital expenditures whereby the operation and maintenance expenses are low. Therefore, the generating cost via photovoltaic or wind is marginally more than a conventional system with respect to the additional generating capacity, nevertheless promises customer satisfaction of a continuous electricity supply.
Reduced emissions and noise pollution
Diesel generation emits air / water pollution agents as well as loud noise, proving the essentiality of renewable energy or diesel retrofits application in power generation which adopts an environmental-friendly technology. In fact, renewable energy system is also substantially quieter than diesel generators.
By incorporating diesel generator with renewable energy system, diesel generator is able to boost up the electricity supply during sudden increase in energy demand or when the batteries capacity decreases and thus, facilities face no supply Interruption.
Increased operational life
The alternate operation at regular intervals and specific occurrences of renewable energy and diesel hybrids could prolong the life of the overall system on account of the discontinuous usage of the diesel set. Furthermore, the discharging level of the batteries is optimum, contributing to its increased operational life.
Renewable energy or diesel hybrid system act as the most cost-effective way of generating electricity with regards to savings on fuel consumption and lower maintenance cost. For a conventional diesel system at remote area, the fuel and transportation cost is typically very high, as well as the service and spare parts cost which grossly excessive to rural community.
A hybrid power station typically includes (a) Inverter module with a continuous power rated at 60% of maximum demand of the community (b) One or two diesel engines, which are usually sized at an equal rating to the inverter to a maximum size of 1.5 times the inverter rating with automatic diesel generator control system. The system controller interfaces to the diesel generators via interconnections to the diesel generator control system. A fully automatic diesel generator control system enables automatic operation and automatic selection of power sources (c) A lead-acid battery storage system, with a specified minimum storage capacity (d) A solar photovoltaic array and solar regulator with a specified minimum power capacity at a specified temperature and insolation (e) A microprocessor based controller unit to monitor and manage the system automatically. It is advantageous if the controller unit has a remote monitoring capability since an off-grid power generation station is normally located at a very remote and isolated area.
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