Demand-Driven Algorithm for Sharing and Distribution of Photovoltaic Power in a Small Local Area Grid

Demand-Driven Algorithm for Sharing and Distribution of Photovoltaic Power in a Small Local Area Grid

Mohammad Abu-Arqoub (Faculty of Information Technology, University of Petra, Amman, Jordan), Ghassan F. Issa (Faculty of Information Technology, University of Petra, Amman, Jordan), Ahmad F. Shubita (Faculty of Information Technology, University of Petra, Amman, Jordan) and Abed Alkarim Banna (Faculty of Information Technology, University of Petra, Amman, Jordan)
DOI: 10.4018/ijitwe.2014010104
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Abstract

The objective of installing a residential photovoltaic system is to cut the cost of the monthly electric bill. However, many homeowners, especially those with low-income, finds it difficult to invest in such systems because require substantial upfront investment. This paper presents a project called PSD-LAG(“Sharing and Distribution of Power-Local Area Grid”) which attempts to solve the issue of installation cost relying on the concept of power sharing and distribution. Thus two or more neighboring households can share the cost of installation, and accordingly share the generated electric power. A Demand-Driven algorithm is implemented and is embedded in a micro-processor based control unit, called “Intelligent Power Distribution and Control Unit (IPDC Unit)”, over sees the operation of the PSD-LAG system. It reads the status of generated power, power requirements for each home, power quota for each home, and accordingly controls a set of hardware devices to distribute the power in a most efficient manner based on usage and quota. At the core of the PSD-LAG is an Intelligent Power Distribution and Control Unit (IPDC Unit) that provides instantaneous monitoring, protection and control. It is an embedded Operating System that reads the status of generated power, power requirements for each home, power quota for each home, and accordingly controls a set of hardware devices to distribute the power in a most efficient manner based on usage and quota.
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Introduction

As the cost of electricity increases, consumers and governments are exploring alternative solutions to generate electricity at lower costs. Developing countries are suffering from shortage in Gas and Oil and from the elevating prices of Electricity generation (Abdulla, 2010). Governments are being forced to reduce subsidies for electricity which of course, increases the cost of electricity to the public (Marar, 2012). Such countries have no choice but to seriously search for alternative energy sources. Renewable energy is therefore a viable source of alternative energy that is safe and clean. More importantly, renewable energy such as Photovoltaic can be implemented using a bottom up approach that is, starting from the end consumer (Abdulla, 2010). This means, that local governments, need not invest large sums of money upfront, such as that may be required for nuclear Plants.

This paper takes an example of a developing country, namely, Jordan, and presents some facts and figures which make it an excellent case for the implementation of Renewable Energy Projects. The paper then, presents a system called PSD-LAG that is useful for consumers in countries with low income and high energy prices. This system gives residence the opportunity to share the burden of installation as well as maintenance cost. The objective of the PSD-LAG system is to assist people in reducing their monthly electric bill without having to put substantial down payment upfront.

Recent years have witnessed extensive research on the issue of generated power distribution and Smart Grids. Large-scale Distributed Generation (DG) and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) have raised new challenges that must be dealt with including fault tolerance, security, stability, and bi-directional communications (Lee, 2011). In Active Distribution Networks (ADN), Power distribution should be active and no longer passive (Cheng, 2006). Two-way communication should take place between the sources and low voltage consumers using power line communication (PLC). In order to manage and control this new type of networks a new generation of hardware/software management systems have been developed called Distribution Management Systems (DMS) (Guerrero, 2011). A DMS is basically a real-time monitoring and controlling system that acts on the distribution networks in ensure proper distribution, monitor and control variation of voltages, provide quality of service, improve reliability of network, and reduce power outages (Ochoa, 2010).

The above mentioned concepts in power distribution and more specifically power generated by multiple sources of renewable energy, and their storage systems has been the focus of a new concept called Micro-grid. A micro-grid is defined by the (European Commission, 2006) as short voltage networks with DG resources, jointly with local storage devices and controllable loads. Micro-grids are notable as they operate mostly while connected to the distribution network. In addition, Micro-grids can be automatically relocated to isled mode in case of errors in the upstream network (Lee, 2011). After resolving the error and restoring the upstream network operation, Micro-grids can be resynchronized to the rest of the system. Furthermore, clusters of customers can be protected against power outages occurring on bordering and/or upstream networks using the Intentional islanding mechanisms (European Commission, 2012). In case of disruptions affecting a close by network, maintaining of power supply to local customers can be implemented.

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