Resilience and Economics of Microgrids with PV, Battery Storage, and Networked Diesel Generators

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Current designs and assessments of microgrids have ignored component reliability, leading to significant errors in predicting a microgrid's performance while islanded. Existing life cycle cost studies on hybrid microgrids—which combine photovoltaics (PV), battery storage and networked emergency diesel generators—also have not identified all the potential economic opportunities. Reducing the number of emergency diesel generators through reliance on PV and battery, retail bill savings, and demand response and wholesale market revenue streams are all important. This paper provides a new statistical methodology that calculates the impact of distributed energy reliability and variability on a microgrid's performance and a novel use of the optimization platform REopt to explore multiple cost savings and revenue streams. We examine the impacts for microgrids in California, Maryland, and New Mexico and show that a hybrid microgrid is a more resilient and cost-effective solution than a diesel-only system. Under realistic conditions, a hybrid microgrid can provide higher system reliability when islanded and have a lower life cycle cost under multiple market conditions than a traditional diesel generator-based system. The improved performance of the hybrid system is resilient to conditions experienced over the last 20 years in solar irradiance and sees little degradation in performance immediately after a hurricane. The cost savings to provide this more resilient backup power system as compared to a diesel-only microgrid are significant. The net present cost for a hybrid microgrid is 19% lower in New Mexico and 35% lower in Maryland than a diesel-only microgrid. In California, the net present cost of the hybrid microgrid is negative because, unlike a diesel-only microgrid, a hybrid microgrid has lower life cycle costs than the power costs without a microgrid.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100049
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Applied Energy
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-7A40-78837


  • Distributed energy resources
  • Microgrid
  • Reliability
  • Resilience
  • Techno-economic optimization


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