An analysis of the viability and competitiveness of DC microgrids in northern India
System Design and Management Program.
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The electrification of rural and remote villages in developing countries poses major challenges. While extension of the central power grid offers economies of scale in generation and transmission, distribution infrastructure to reach remote areas can be prohibitively costly to install and maintain. The low demand of newly electrified customers also makes many electrification projects economically unviable. Northern India provides a case study in the challenges of rural electrification. Microgrids, wherein smaller numbers of customers are connected to a local electricity infrastructure that may or may not be connected to the central grid, have long been studied as a potential way to electrify remote and rural customers. This study proposes and analyzes a set of technical and economic models describing a solar powered DC microgrid, where a private enterprise provides lighting and mobile phone charging as a service. The models are analyzed to determine sensitivity to factors such as village size, length of distribution networks, customer load, and operations and maintenance costs. The models are tested to determine the technical and economic factors that limit the practical applicability of the proposed enterprise. The microgrid enterprise is then compared to a similar company that uses single household solar home systems (SHS) to provide the same service. The study concludes with a general discussion of the differences between the solar home system and microgrid approaches.
Thesis: S.M. in Engineering and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, System Design and Management Program, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 71-74).
DepartmentSystem Design and Management Program.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division., System Design and Management Program.