Integrating a Solar PV System with a Household Based Backup Generator for Hybrid Swarm Electrification: A Case Study of Nigeria
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Today most of the electrification grids in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are found in urban areas. However, these grids experience erratic and frequent power outages for long hours, on average 4.6 h in a day. Due to this problem, many of the African population rely on cheaper but unclean options like backup diesel/petrol generators for lighting, phone charging and other electrical appliances. In Nigeria, millions of people own power generators. These generators are not only noisy but the fuel they use is also costly and result into emissions that pollute the environment. In order to optimize fuel consumption and gradually reduce use of backup generators while increasing share of renewables, a strategy is proposed in this paper to interconnect the existing backup infrastructure to form a bottom-up swarm electrification grid with step by step integration of alternative storages and renewable energy sources. In the swarm-grid excess energy can be generated, sold among grid participants and even at later stage to the national grid. This study focused on a swarm grid hybrid node consisting of a solar PV system integrated with the existing individual backup generators for households and retail shop end users. The hybrid system designed was found to be a suitable system with fuel savings of 39%, excess energy of 27% and reduced cost of backup electricity by 34% for the household end user. For the retail shop end user, the hybrid system was found to be a suitable system with a fuel cost saving of 53%, excess energy generation of 28% and reduced cost of backup electricity by 45%. The study showed that integration of a solar PV system has a high potential to reduce fuel costs for backup generator end users and presents a great opportunity for hybrid swarm electrification approach.