Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi

Aran Eales, Lloyd Archer, Hannah Buckland, Damien Frame, Stuart Galloway

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

Abstract

Energy is an enabler for development but electricity access is still unobtainable for over 1 million people in developing countries. In Malawi, less than 12% of the population have access to grid electricity and in rural areas this is as low as 1%. Solar microgrids are emerging as a cost competitive, low carbon and reliable method for offering energy access in developing countries. This paper provides a summary of the process and key findings in assessing technical and financial feasibility of a solar microgrid in Malawi, including system design definition, business model discussion and sensitivity analysis of key parameters through techno-economic modelling. The novel approach developed utilises qualitative and quantitative information gathering and assessment in an iterative way to design a robust energy access solution in the most viable local location. The results show that the upper limit of the ‘expected energy use’ can be up to 5 times higher than the designed energy limit. Higher demand grids are shown to present c.20% lower levelised cost of energy for the cases considered and conversely, the ‘low demand’ grid case is shown to have c.48% higher levelised cost of energy . This represents a significant range of uncertainly in energy use prediction, which if not treated properly will adversely affect both energy access and microgrid business development. The research presented in this paper will address these challenges in the context of Malawi but is broadly applicable to other similar locations.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC)
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherIEEE
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538629109
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2018
EventThe 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference - Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow , United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20187 Sep 2018
Conference number: 53
http://www.upec2018.com/

Conference

ConferenceThe 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference
Abbreviated titleUPEC2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/09/187/09/18
Internet address

Fingerprint

Developing countries
Electricity
Costs
Sensitivity analysis
Industry
Systems analysis
Economics
Carbon

Keywords

  • microgrid
  • solar PV
  • techno-economic modelling

Cite this

Eales, A., Archer, L., Buckland, H., Frame, D., & Galloway, S. (2018). Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi. In 2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC) Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/UPEC.2018.8542002
Eales, Aran ; Archer, Lloyd ; Buckland, Hannah ; Frame, Damien ; Galloway, Stuart. / Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi. 2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC). Piscataway, NJ : IEEE, 2018.
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Eales, A, Archer, L, Buckland, H, Frame, D & Galloway, S 2018, Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi. in 2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC). IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, The 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference, Glasgow , United Kingdom, 4/09/18. https://doi.org/10.1109/UPEC.2018.8542002

Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi. / Eales, Aran; Archer, Lloyd; Buckland, Hannah; Frame, Damien; Galloway, Stuart.

2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC). Piscataway, NJ : IEEE, 2018.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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N1 - © 2018 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

PY - 2018/12/13

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N2 - Energy is an enabler for development but electricity access is still unobtainable for over 1 million people in developing countries. In Malawi, less than 12% of the population have access to grid electricity and in rural areas this is as low as 1%. Solar microgrids are emerging as a cost competitive, low carbon and reliable method for offering energy access in developing countries. This paper provides a summary of the process and key findings in assessing technical and financial feasibility of a solar microgrid in Malawi, including system design definition, business model discussion and sensitivity analysis of key parameters through techno-economic modelling. The novel approach developed utilises qualitative and quantitative information gathering and assessment in an iterative way to design a robust energy access solution in the most viable local location. The results show that the upper limit of the ‘expected energy use’ can be up to 5 times higher than the designed energy limit. Higher demand grids are shown to present c.20% lower levelised cost of energy for the cases considered and conversely, the ‘low demand’ grid case is shown to have c.48% higher levelised cost of energy . This represents a significant range of uncertainly in energy use prediction, which if not treated properly will adversely affect both energy access and microgrid business development. The research presented in this paper will address these challenges in the context of Malawi but is broadly applicable to other similar locations.

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Eales A, Archer L, Buckland H, Frame D, Galloway S. Feasibility study for a solar PV microgrid in Malawi. In 2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC). Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. 2018 https://doi.org/10.1109/UPEC.2018.8542002