Renewable Energy, Vol.169, 34-52, 2021
Techno-economic evaluation of an off-grid health clinic considering the current and future energy challenges: A rural case study
The existence of health clinics is an essential need for residents of a remote area to improve their quality of life. Providing energy and freshwater for these units are critical problems especially in countries with arid areas and tropical climate. In this study, a hybrid energy system including photovoltaic panels, diesel generator, and battery bank is considered to provide electrical demand for a health clinic. Lack of proper access to the fuel in standalone systems can be a challenge in desert remote areas which could cause difficulties in the electricity management. Accordingly, three excess electricity management methods including increasing the annual fuel availability, using a combination of fuel cell/electrolyzer and considering the annual capacity shortage are compared to each other. Also for the first time, the possibility of annual shocks to the load is taken into account due to the global outbreak of some epidemic diseases such as SARS and Covid-19 in recent history. The results showed that the energy cost of proposed hybrid system would be 0.105 $/kWh with more than 30% renewable fraction. Also, the grid breakeven distance in different situations is estimated between 1.2 km and 5.8 km which shows the high capability of off-grid development of the proposed hybrid system for small loads. (C) 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.