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Off-grid systems for rural electrification in developing countries: Definitions, classification and a comprehensive literature review

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  • Mandelli, Stefano
  • Barbieri, Jacopo
  • Mereu, Riccardo
  • Colombo, Emanuela

Abstract

Access to electric power supply has always had a significant role in promoting improvements in all the society sectors, nevertheless nowadays 1.3 billion of people still do not have electricity access. Moreover, most of them live in rural areas of developing countries which are often isolated, scattered populated and characterized by poor infrastructure and services. In this situation, the growing consideration towards the target of universal access to energy has emphasized the role of rural electrification, and off-grid small-scale generation represents one of the most appropriate options. As a consequence, the scientific literature has devoted attention to this topic with a large number of papers. In this frame, the present analysis focuses on off-grid systems for rural electrification and provides a general framework to this topic and an analytical review of the literature. The work is based on the review of more than 350 papers mainly published from 2000 to 2014 within selected journals, and it is organized in two sections. In the first one we describe the role of small-scale generation systems throughout the process of electrification, the main features of rural areas and their typical energy uses, and we propose a new comprehensive taxonomy for off-grid systems for rural electrification. In the second one we develop an extensive review of the selected literature according to the proposed classification and to five main research areas: Technology: layout and components; Models and methods for simulation and sizing; Techno-economic feasibility analyses and sustainability analyses; Case studies analyses; Policy analyses. The work results in a comprehensive review which organizes and capitalizes the main fundamentals of the addressed topic and provides elements to get acquainted with the literature.

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  • Mandelli, Stefano & Barbieri, Jacopo & Mereu, Riccardo & Colombo, Emanuela, 2016. "Off-grid systems for rural electrification in developing countries: Definitions, classification and a comprehensive literature review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1621-1646.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:58:y:2016:i:c:p:1621-1646
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.12.338
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