Research ArticleELECTRICAL POWER

Data-driven modeling of solar-powered urban microgrids

Science Advances  15 Jan 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 1, e1500700
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500700

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Abstract

Distributed generation takes center stage in today’s rapidly changing energy landscape. Particularly, locally matching demand and generation in the form of microgrids is becoming a promising alternative to the central distribution paradigm. Infrastructure networks have long been a major focus of complex networks research with their spatial considerations. We present a systemic study of solar-powered microgrids in the urban context, obeying real hourly consumption patterns and spatial constraints of the city. We propose a microgrid model and study its citywide implementation, identifying the self-sufficiency and temporal properties of microgrids. Using a simple optimization scheme, we find microgrid configurations that result in increased resilience under cost constraints. We characterize load-related failures solving power flows in the networks, and we show the robustness behavior of urban microgrids with respect to optimization using percolation methods. Our findings hint at the existence of an optimal balance between cost and robustness in urban microgrids.

Keywords
  • Complex networks
  • power systems
  • microgrid
  • solar PV
  • distributed generation
  • resilience

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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