Techno-economic assessment of an off-grid PV system for developing regions to provide electricity for basic domestic needs: A 2020-2040 scenario

Zubi G., Dufo-Lopez R., Pasaoglu G., Pardo N.

APPLIED ENERGY, vol.176, pp.309-319, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 176
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.05.022
  • Journal Name: APPLIED ENERGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.309-319
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


While in the developed countries electrification is paving the way for progress and prosperity, nowadays electricity is still not accessible for about 18% of the world's population. Lack of power grids is the main reason that prevents millions in remote areas in developing countries from using electricity for the daily basic needs. PV systems provide an effective solution for these regions, but affordability remains an issue. This barrier can be widely overcome on the short term by limiting PV power supply to very high added value applications and by properly exploiting innovations, especially in energy efficiency and cost reductions. Additional to that, the long-term perspectives of off-grid PV are very favourable based on its ongoing technological improvements and cost reductions. This paper studies four off-grid PV cases of which each could cover a combination of basic energy needs regarding light, cooking, food conservation and electronic appliances. Case I considers a system that supplies power for LED lamps and electronic devices. Accordingly, Case II adds a fridge and Case III an electric rice cooker to Case I, while Case IV adds both. The paper elaborates on available technologies and future developments regarding all components in order to assess the long term evolution and potential of these applications, most specifically how their affordability would evolve over time. The modelling and optimization of the four cases are performed using the software iHOGA, which is an efficient tool to provide the lowest cost solution for off-grid PV systems. The use of iHOGA for the four cases and the installation years 2020, 2030 and 2040, taking thereby into account different developing regions, provide an evolutionary techno-economic assessment of these applications and a clear picture about the developments to be expected from off-grid PV in general. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.