Solar photovoltaic (PV) direct current (DC) microgrids have gained significant popularity during the last decade for low cost and sustainable rural electrification. Various system architectures have been practically deployed, however, their assessment concerning system sizing, losses, and operational efficiency is not readily available in the literature. Therefore, in this research work, a mathematical framework for the comparative analysis of various architectures of solar photovoltaic-based DC microgrids for rural applications is presented. The compared architectures mainly include (a) central generation and central storage architecture, (b) central generation and distributed storage architecture, (c) distributed generation and central storage architecture, and (d) distributed generation and distributed storage architecture. Each architecture is evaluated for losses, including distribution losses and power electronic conversion losses, for typical power delivery from source end to the load end in the custom village settings. Newton–Raphson method modified for DC power flow was used for distribution loss analysis, while power electronic converter loss modeling along with the Matlab curve-fitting tool was used for the evaluation of power electronic losses. Based upon the loss analysis, a framework for DC microgrid components (PV and battery) sizing was presented and also applied to the various architectures under consideration. The case study results show that distributed generation and distributed storage architecture with typical usage diversity of 40% is the most feasible architecture from both system sizing and operational cost perspectives and is 13% more efficient from central generation and central storage architecture for a typical village of 40 houses. The presented framework and the analysis results will be useful in selecting an optimal DC microgrid architecture for future rural electrification implementations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was funded by a “Villum Investigator grant” (no. 25920) from The Villum Fonden, Denmark.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- DC microgrids
- DC power systems
- Loss analysis
- Rural electrification
- System sizing