Residential roof-top solar PV systems: techno-economic feasibility and enviro-economic impacts

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Title: Residential roof-top solar PV systems: techno-economic feasibility and enviro-economic impacts
Authors: Al-Saqlawi, Juman
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: The residential sector represents 27% of global energy consumption and 17% of global CO2 emissions. Scaling up what we already know how to do through the use of solar PV technologies could decarbonise electricity demand and play a considerable role in mitigating climate change. Therefore, the overall objective of this thesis is to develop a novel step by step approach in order to assess the potential of implementing roof-top solar PV/battery technologies, defined as grid-independent systems, that target the complete decarbonisation of electricity demand per household. The approach adopted was to use Oman as a primary case study and Mexico as a secondary case study in order to determine the characteristics of the solar panel and the battery facility required to provide grid-independence. This was then compared to a similar grid-connected system and any techno-economic targets necessary to enhance the feasibility of residential roof-top PV systems were identified. Such an analysis was achieved through developing a detailed techno-economic mathematical model describing four sub-systems; the solar panel DC source, the grid-independent sub-system, the grid-connected sub-system and the economic sub-system. The model was implemented in gPROMS and uses real hourly weather and climate conditions matched with real demand data, over a simulated period of 20 years. Following the techno-economic assessment, an enviro-economic analysis was applied to the main case study, Oman, where the wider impacts of residential roof-top PV systems on the economy and the environment were assessed through quantifying any financial benefits, avoided CO2 emissions and net jobs created. The results indicate that, in the context of the systems studied, grid-independent PV systems are not feasible. However, combined with a high enough electricity price, grid-independent systems can become economically feasible with significant reductions in battery costs (>90% reductions). This can only be achieved through further research and innovation in battery technologies. Comparatively, with the appropriate electricity prices, PV costs and policies, grid-connected systems were identified to have great potential in countries that are characterised with high solar irradiance such as Oman and Mexico. In terms of enviro-economic benefits, residential roof- top PV systems were found to have the potential to significantly reduce overall CO2 emissions and result in notable economic benefits to a specific country. However, this is dependent on the country under consideration. Finally, it was recommended that in order to achieve more accurate net job creation estimations from renewable systems, country specific models should be developed since current analytical models are characterised with great uncertainty.
Content Version: Open Access
Issue Date: Nov-2017
Date Awarded: Feb-2018
Supervisor: Madani, Kaveh
Mac Dowell, Niall
Sponsor/Funder: Oman. Wizārat al-Tarbiyah wa-al-Taʻlīm
Department: Centre for Environmental Policy
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy PhD theses

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