Microgrid systems (or minigrid, depending on their size) are off-grid electricity production and distribution systems. Many remote places in the developing countries have to rely on independent production of electricity and the inherent challenge is to produce maximum stable energy with minimum costs and pollution. The hybrid systems combine inexpensive and clean electricity production through solar panels with generators that start operating when the battery is empty after a long period without sunshine.
A hybrid installation/solar power station is a facility for production, storage and supply of electricity in various power outputs, made up of a solar panel system, batteries, converters, chargers, and an energy management system. The facility includes other energy sources also, such as generator/s, electricity grid, wind turbines, etc.
The hybrid combination reduces the initial investment costs because the system does not rely on solar output only and therefore its size is planned so that it will provide only 90-95% of the energy. This type of structure reduces the system size by 10%-20%. The generator works a very short part of the time, approx. 1%-3% only on the exceptional days when there is a considerable decrease in the solar output because of cloud cover.
Because the generator is little used, there is cost-saving derived from the reduction of the frequent transport of the fuels and also of maintenance, which is considerably reduced, since it depends on the amount of use, which in turn, because of maximum production of the energy from the sun, is minimal.
The microgrid infrastructures serve in the Western world mainly during emergencies. In California there are such systems built on trucks designed for operation in crises when there is complete breakdown of the national electricity grid. In Israel, minigrid systems are expected to be constructed in some IDF bases in the next few years.
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