Keywords: electricity generation, energy storage, autonomous electrical networks, photovoltaic generators, electricity production costs, small islands, integrated electrification, Aegean islands, solar energy, solar power
Combined photovoltaic and energy storage systems: an integrated electrification solution for small islands
The numerous small Aegean Sea islands present serious problems related to insufficient infrastructure, low quality of electricity available at very high production cost, as well as problematic connection with the mainland. On the other hand, the high solar potential of the area may encourage photovoltaic-based applications characterised by rather low maintenance support demands. In this context, an integrated electrification solution based on a photovoltaic generator along with an appropriate energy storage device is investigated. One of the main targets of the proposed solution is to maximise the solar energy exploitation of the area at minimum electricity generation cost, while special emphasis is given to the selection of the most cost-efficient energy storage configuration available. According to the results obtained, the solution under investigation is not only financially attractive but also improves the quality of electricity offered to the local communities, substituting for the expensive and heavily polluting operating thermal power stations.