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Optimum autonomous stand-alone photovoltaic system design on the basis of energy pay-back analysis

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  • Kaldellis, J.K.
  • Zafirakis, D.
  • Kondili, E.

Abstract

Stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) systems comprise one of the most promising electrification solutions for covering the demand of remote consumers. However, such systems are strongly questioned due to extreme life-cycle (LC) energy requirements. For similar installations to be considered as environmentally sustainable, their LC energy content must be compensated by the respective useful energy production, i.e. their energy pay-back period (EPBP) should be found less than their service period. In this context, an optimum sizing methodology is currently developed, based on the criterion of minimum embodied energy. Various energy autonomous stand-alone PV-lead-acid battery systems are examined and two different cases are investigated; a high solar potential area and a medium solar potential area. By considering that the PV-battery (PV-Bat) system's useful energy production is equal to the remote consumer's electricity consumption, optimum cadmium telluride (CdTe) based systems yield the minimum EPBP (15 years). If achieving to exploit the net PV energy production however, the EPBP is found less than 20 years for all PV types. Finally, the most interesting finding concerns the fact that in all cases examined the contribution of the battery component exceeds 27% of the system LC energy requirements, reflecting the difference between grid-connected and stand-alone configurations.

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  • Kaldellis, J.K. & Zafirakis, D. & Kondili, E., 2009. "Optimum autonomous stand-alone photovoltaic system design on the basis of energy pay-back analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1187-1198.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:34:y:2009:i:9:p:1187-1198
    DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2009.05.003
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