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Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Applied Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apenergy

Current status of research on optimum sizing of stand-alone hybrid


solarwind power generation systems
Wei Zhou a,*, Chengzhi Lou b, Zhongshi Li a, Lin Lu a, Hongxing Yang a
a
b

Renewable Energy Research Group (RERG), Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
School of Environment Science and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 22 April 2009
Received in revised form 11 August 2009
Accepted 11 August 2009
Available online 3 September 2009
Keywords:
Hybrid solarwind energy system
Feasibility study
Modelling
Optimization

a b s t r a c t
Solar and wind energy systems are omnipresent, freely available, environmental friendly, and they are
considered as promising power generating sources due to their availability and topological advantages
for local power generations. Hybrid solarwind energy systems, uses two renewable energy sources,
allow improving the system efciency and power reliability and reduce the energy storage requirements
for stand-alone applications. The hybrid solarwind systems are becoming popular in remote area power
generation applications due to advancements in renewable energy technologies and substantial rise in
prices of petroleum products. This paper is to review the current state of the simulation, optimization
and control technologies for the stand-alone hybrid solarwind energy systems with battery storage. It
is found that continued research and development effort in this area is still needed for improving the systems performance, establishing techniques for accurately predicting their output and reliably integrating
them with other renewable or conventional power generation sources.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Contents
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Meteorological data generation for feasibility study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.
Time-series meteorological data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.
Statistical meteorological data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Simulation modelling of hybrid solarwind system components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.
Modelling of photovoltaic system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.
Modelling of wind energy system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.
Modelling of battery storage system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Criteria for hybrid solarwind system optimizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.
Power reliability analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.
System cost analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Optimum sizing methods for hybrid solarwind system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1.
Simulation and optimization software. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.
Optimization techniques for hybrid solarwind system. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.1.
Optimization scenarios based on different meteorological data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.2.
Optimization techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.
Brief summary of the optimization techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2766 4559; fax: +852 2774 6146.
E-mail address: w.zhou@polyu.edu.hk (W. Zhou).
0306-2619/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2009.08.012

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W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

1. Introduction
Rapid depletion of fossil fuel resources on a worldwide basis has
necessitated an urgent search for alternative energy sources to cater to the present days demand. Another key reason to reduce our
reliance on fossil fuels is the growing evidence of the global warming phenomena. Therefore, it is imperative to nd alternative energy sources to cover the continuously increasing demand of
energy while minimise the negative environmental impacts. Solar
and wind energy systems are being considered as promising power
generating sources due to their availability and topological advantages for local power generations in remote areas. Utilization of solar and wind energy has become increasingly signicant, attractive
and cost-effective, since the oil crises of early 1970s.
However, a drawback, common to solar and wind options, is
their unpredictable nature and dependence on weather and climatic changes, and the variations of solar and wind energy may
not match with the time distribution of load demand. This shortcoming not only affects the systems energy performance, but also
results in batteries being discarded too early. Generally, the independent use of both energy resources may result in considerable
over-sizing, which in turn makes the design costly. It is prudent
that neither a stand-alone solar energy system nor a wind energy
system can provide a continuous power supply due to seasonal
and periodical variations [1] for stand-alone systems.
Fortunately, the problems caused by the variable nature of
these resources can be partially or wholly overcome by integrating
these two energy resources in a proper combination, using the
strengths of one source to overcome the weakness of the other.
The use of different energy sources allows improving the system
efciency and reliability of the energy supply and reduces the energy storage requirements compared to systems comprising only
one single renewable energy source. With the complementary
characteristics between solar energy and wind energy for certain
locations, the hybrid solarwind power generation systems with
storage banks offer a highly reliable source of power [2], which is
suitable to electrical loads that need higher reliability [3].
In the past, the hybrid systems have been considered as preferred for remote systems like radio telecommunication, satellite
earth stations, or at sites far away from a conventional power system [47]. Today, there is a trend to update the existing one source
system (PV, wind or hydro) into hybrid system for grid-connection
applications [8].
Of course, with increased complexity in comparison with single
energy systems, the optimum design of a hybrid system becomes
complicated through uncertain renewable energy supplies and
load demand, non-linear characteristics of the components, high
number of variables and parameters that have to be considered
for the optimum design, and the fact that the optimum conguration and optimum control strategy of the system are interdependent. This complexity makes the hybrid systems more difcult to
be designed and analyzed.
In order to efciently and economically utilize the renewable
energy resources, one optimum sizing method is necessary. The
optimum sizing method can help to guarantee the lowest investment with full use of the PV array, wind turbine and battery bank,
so that the hybrid system can work at the optimum conditions in
terms of investment and system power reliability. This type of
optimization includes economical objectives, and it requires the
assessment of the systems long-term performance in order to
reach the best compromise for both reliability and cost.
Different sizing methods, such as graphical construction method, probabilistic approach, iterative approach and articial intelligence method, can be applied to reach a techno-economically
optimum hybrid renewable energy system. Whichever sizing and
optimization technique are used, they must ultimately search for

381

an optimum combination of the following parameters: the system


reliability and the system cost. While the expected reliability from
a stand-alone hybrid system constitutes an important criterion in
optimization, the cost of the system is the governing factor, unless
an unlimited budget is available. Therefore, relationship between
the system reliability and cost should be closely studied so that
an optimum solution can be attained. This paper will concentrate
on reviewing the current state of the local meteorological data generation, optimization and control technologies for the stand-alone
hybrid solarwind energy systems with battery storage and try to
nd what further work is needed.

2. Meteorological data generation for feasibility study


Climatic conditions determine the availability and magnitude of
solar and wind energy at a particular site. For different districts and
locations, climatic conditions, including solar radiation, wind
speed, air temperature, and so forth, are always changing. For better utilization of the solar and wind energy resources, an analysis
of the characteristics of solar radiation and wind conditions at a
potential site should be made at the stage of inception.
2.1. Time-series meteorological data
The long-term system performance is one of the most important design criteria for stand-alone hybrid solarwind energy systems. Some researchers used time-series meterological data for
feasibility study and design of the hybrid systems. Weather data
containing hourly solar radiation, wind speed, and ambient temperature are required in the performance simulation of these
systems.
The global whether data could be obtained from internet [9]
and other sources like local meterological station. A hybrid solar
and wind system can be evaluated with the help of these global
weather patterns, but for deciding the best feasible solution, the
site-to-site basis weather data is usually needed. Until now, a lot
of researches have been done on solar and wind energy resource
analysis, the possibilities of utilizing solar and wind energy resources in many regions or countries have been reported [1014].
2.2. Statistical meteorological data
Knight et al. [15] pointed out that the hourly records of meteorological variables for extended periods of time do not exist for
many locations. When the measured weather data do not exist
for a location, they can be obtained in mainly two ways. Firstly,
the necessary weather data may be synthetically generated from
the monthly-average values of the meteorological data. Some statistical properties of solar radiation and wind speed can be applied
to yield a number of days of weather data representing a whole
month [16]. Secondly, the weather data may be extrapolated from
a nearby site by making necessary adjustments [17].
Synthetically generated weather data can be used when incomplete weather data set is an advantage to work with because of the
reduction in computational effort in simulation studies. Generation
of solar radiation, in particular, wind speed and temperature data,
has been the objective of several studies. Among these studies,
Gordon and Reddy developed a solar radiation generator on an
hourly basis [18], and on a daily basis [19]. Baklouktsis et al. [20]
made stochastic simulations of hourly and daily-average wind
speeds. Knight et al. [15] presented techniques for the generation
of hourly solar radiation and ambient temperature data, as well
as suggestions for humidity and wind speed. The algorithm developed by Knight et al. [15] requires the input of monthly-average

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W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

Wind Turbine

Data Collection System


Controller

PV Module

Dump Load

DC Load
Inverter

AC Load
Battery

Fig. 1. Block diagram of a hybrid solarwind power generation system.

solar radiation and generates the hourly solar radiation based on


the cumulative frequency distributions of the daily clearness index.
Typical meteorological year (TMY) is one of the most common
synthetic weather data sequences used in solar system simulations. Hourly TMY weather data usually consists of 12 months of
hourly data. Each month is selected from long-term weather data
as being the best representative of that particular month or is generated from several years of weather data which would yield the
same statistics (such as the average solar radiation and clearness
index) as those of several years data.
The most popular method for deriving the TMY data, rstly
developed by Hall et al. [21], is an empirical approach selecting
individual months from different years using the FilkensteinSchafer statistical method [22]. The nal selection involved examining
statistics and the persistence structure of the daily dry bulb temperatures and daily total global solar radiation. Other studies
[23,24] derived TMYs for different cities. In these studies, different
weighting factors of meteorological parameters were considered.
Yang and Lu [25] developed a local TMY for solar and wind energy
application and evaluation. Their work also proved that determining proper weather parameters and their weighting factors is
imperative for the development of the TMYs for different kinds
of renewable energy systems.
Based on statistical meteorological data, various feasibility and
performance studies are reported to evaluate the performance of
various hybrid solarwind energy systems [2628].
3. Simulation modelling of hybrid solarwind system
components
A hybrid solarwind system consists of PV array, wind turbine,
battery bank, inverter, controller, and other accessory devices and
cables. A schematic diagram of a basic hybrid system is shown in
Fig. 1. The PV array and wind turbine work together to satisfy
the load demand. When the energy sources (solar and wind energy) are abundant, the generated power, after satisfying the load
demand, will be supplied to feed the battery until its fully charged.
On the contrary, when energy sources are poor, the battery will release energy to assist the PV array and wind turbine to cover the
load requirements until the storage is depleted.
The hybrid solarwind system design is mainly dependent on
the performance of individual components. In order to predict
the systems performance, individual components should be modeled rst and then their combination can be evaluated to meet the
demand reliability. If the power output prediction from these individual components is accurate enough, the resultant combination
will deliver power at the least cost.

3.1. Modelling of photovoltaic system


Reliable knowledge and understanding of the PV module performance under different operating conditions is of great importance for correct product selection and accurate prediction of its
energy performance. The performance of a crystalline silicon PV
module is a function of the physical variables of the PV module
material, temperature of PV module and the solar radiance on
the PV module surface.
A lot of work has been done on analysis of the environmental
factors that inuence the PV module/arrays performance [29
31]. Radziemska and Klugmann [30] presented the inuence of
temperature on the parameters of silicon photocells. For comparison, the results of mono-crystalline solar cells and photodiodes
with a large light sensitive area are utilized. Nishioka et al. [31]
analyzed the temperature coefcient dependence of system performance in order to estimate the annual output of a PV system in an
actual operating environment. As a result, it is found that the annual output energy of the PV system increased about 1% by an
improvement of 0.1%/C of the temperature coefcient.
For engineering application, many researchers have investigated
the simplied simulation models, such as the power efciency
models [3237], which can predict the time series or average performance of a PV array under variable climatic conditions.
Overstraeten and Mertens [32] rst introduced the equivalent
model or circuit of solar cells, which are the fundamentals for any
further studies. Kerr and Cuevas [29] presented a new technique,
which can determine the currentvoltage (IV) characteristics of
PV modules based on simultaneously measuring the open-circuit
voltage as a function of a slowly varying light intensity. And they
also have given a detailed theoretical analysis and interpretation of such quasi-steady-state Voc measurements. Borowy and
Salameh [33] gave us one simplied model with which the maximum power output could be calculated for one certain PV module
once solar radiation on the PV module and ambient temperature
were found.
Zhou et al. [34] presented a novel simulation model for PV array
performance predictions for engineering applications based on the
I-V curves of a PV module. Five parameters are introduced to account for the complex dependence of PV module performance
upon solar radiation intensities and PV module temperatures.
The author claims that this simulation model is simple and especially useful for engineers to calculate the actual performance of
the PV modules under operating conditions, with limited data
provided by the PV module manufacturers. Yang et al. [2] developed one model for calculating the maximum power output of
PV modules according to the theory of equivalent circuit of solar

W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

cells by using eight parameters which can be identied by regression with the Amoeba Subroutine or Downhill Simplex Method
from experimental data. Accuracy of this model was validated by
experimental data with good tness.
Jones and Underwood [37] developed an efciency model of PV
module power output based on an adaptation of the established PV
ll factor method, and attempts are made to take into account the
solar radiation and temperature characteristics in the established
theory in order to make a general PV power efciency mode. The
AC power output from a PV array was estimated from the product
of a single PV module power output, the number of PV modules Nm
in the array, and the inverter efciency ginv :


 

G
lnk1 G
To
PArray FF  Isco 

 V oco 
 Nm  ginv
Go
lnk1 Go T module

The simulation model is validated using measured data from a


39.5 kW building-integrated PV array. Calculations of the PV module power output were made for two different sets of climatic conditions (clear sky conditions and overcast sky conditions) by
compiling data sets from all periods of the year.
3.2. Modelling of wind energy system
A literature survey undertaken for reviewing the system performance assessments for wind energy systems has shown that limited work is available in this specic eld. The publications on
wind energy have been mostly concentrated on regional wind energy assessment [38], wind speed distribution functions [39], economic aspects of wind energy [40] and regional wind energy
policies [41].
Different wind generators have different power output performance curves. Therefore, the model used to describe the performance of wind generators is expected to be different. Choosing a
suitable model is very important for wind turbine power simulations, it is a pre-requisite for the successful planning and implementation of wind power generation projects.
The hour-by-hour simulation programs have been the main
tools to determine the long-term performance of wind energy systems. Based on the hourly wind speed data, the long-term performance of the wind system can be obtained. Generally, for a typical
wind turbine, the power output characteristic can be assumed in
such a way that it starts power generation at the cut-in wind
speed, then the power output increases linearly as the wind speed
increases from the cut-in wind speed to the rated wind speed, and
the rated power is produced when the wind speed varies from the
rated wind speed to the cut-out wind speed at which the wind turbine will be shut down for safety considerations. Based on the
above assumptions, the most simplied model to simulate the
power output of a wind turbine is described by [42]. In other case
studies [33,43,44], a similar form model is applied regarding the
Weibull shape parameter k. Additionally, there are other types of
models to describe the power output of wind turbines, where the
quadratic expressions are applied for the simulation [45,46].
However, it is generally acknowledged that the hour-by-hour
simulation programs require hour-by-hour wind speed data, which
may not be available for many locations. Therefore, some simplied design algorithms [47,48] have been developed as alternatives
to simulation programs to determine the long-term performance of
renewable energy systems. However, it is generally acknowledged
that if the simulation model is more general it is usually less
accurate.
In some other researches, calculation of wind turbine power is
based on electrical load, average wind speed and power curve of
the wind turbine [49]. Since the calculation based on actual wind
speed and direction is time-consuming and sometimes impossible,

383

average wind speed can be used. Sometimes, the wind turbine


power curves cannot exactly represent wind turbine power output
because the curves can only give the power output of the wind turbine as a function of the average wind speed ignoring instantaneous wind speed variations, and thereby will, to some extent,
undermine the performance of the wind turbine [50]. Therefore,
considering the effect of instantaneous variations of wind speed
for a hybrid system can improve the accuracy whereas considering
actual wind speed for a hybrid system is almost impossible. Zamani and Riahy [51] presented a new method for calculating the
power of a wind turbine by considering wind speed variations.
The rate of wind speed variations is assessed by the energy pattern
factor (EPF) of actual wind, and the performance of rotor speed and
pitch angle controllers is evaluated by a new factor, named wind
turbine controllability (Ca). By using the EPF and Ca, the power
curve is modied by considering the extra power that is captured
by the controllers.
3.3. Modelling of battery storage system
The harnessing of renewable energies presents, however, a further set of technical and economic problems. Unlike fossil and nuclear fuels, which are concentrated sources of energy that can be
easily stored and transported, renewable forms of energy are
highly dilute and diffuse. Moreover, their supply can be extremely
intermittent and unreliable. So, batteries are required to even out
irregularities in the solar and wind power distributions.
The development of battery behavioural models has been the
focus of researchers for many years. Based on the model given by
Gu et al. [52] and incorporation of the diffusionprecipitation
mechanism studied by Ekdunge and Simonsson [53] in the reaction
kinetics of the negative electrode, Kim and Hong [54] analyzed the
discharge performance of a ooded leadacid battery cell using
mathematical modelling. Bernardi and Carpenter [55] developed
a mathematical model of leadacid batteries by adding the oxygen
recombination reaction. Nguyen et al. [56] presented a model analogous to the ooded type and examined the dynamic behaviour of
the cell during discharge with respect to cold cranking amperage
and reserve capacity.
In general, these models are complex in terms of the expressions and number of parameters employed. Furthermore, many
of the parameters are determined through measurement of internal components or processes or by extensive experimentation.
Consequently, these models tend to be used to assess the theoretical performance of battery designs and are not practical for simulating the performance of an arbitrary battery at arbitrary
operating conditions.
Another common modelling approach is to develop an electrical
circuit that is designed to be functionally equivalent to the battery
[57,58]. The components of the circuit can represent the internal
components of the battery, e.g. electrode and electrolyte resistances. The accuracy of these models depends upon the number
of characterisation tests performed to identify the values of the circuit elements [57]. In some cases, compensation factors are required to eliminate the inuence of temperature. Furthermore,
re-characterisation has been recommended to cater to changes
due to battery ageing [58].
Other battery behavioural prediction approaches include charge
accumulation and empirical models. Yang et al. [2] states that a
leadacid battery is characterized by two indexes, i.e. the state of
charge (SOC) and the oating charge voltage (or the terminal voltage). Extensive SOC determination methods have been introduced
by Sabine Piller et al. [59]. It concluded that the most used technique at this time for all systems is ampere-hour counting method
because it is the most direct and transparent method and quite
easily implemented with satisfyingly accurate results for short-

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W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

time applications, especially if used in the range of low to medium


SOC. Morgan et al. [60] have studied the performance of battery
units in an autonomous hybrid energy system at various temperatures by considering the state of voltage (SOV) instead of state of
charge (SOC). For oating charge voltage simulations, models are
available in the literature [61] that describes the relationship between the oating charge voltage, the current rate and the battery
state of charge.
However, battery charge is a complex function of the batterys
operating conditions. Therefore, experimentally determined correction factors are required [62]. Empirical models are established
and veried by means of observation and experimentation [63].
These include models that relate measurable battery parameters
to the status of the battery, employing, for example, curve tting
techniques [64]. These models also require considerable experimentation to obtain the parameters that characterise the targeted
batterys behaviour.
4. Criteria for hybrid solarwind system optimizations
In order to select an optimum combination for a hybrid system
to meet the load demand, evaluation must be carried out on the
basis of power reliability and system life-cycle cost. An optimum
combination for hybrid system can make the best compromise between the two considered objectives: power reliability and system
cost.

Net Present Cost is dened as the total present value of a time series of cash ows, which includes the initial cost of all the system
components, the cost of any component replacements that occur
within the project lifetime and the cost of maintenance. The system lifetime is usually considered to be the life of the PV modules,
which are the elements that have a longer lifespan. A more detailed
description of its calculation can be found [70,71], and some costs
may depend on the control strategy selected amongst those possibilities [70]. The HOMER (Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric
Renewable) uses the total Net Present Cost to represent the life-cycle cost of the system, assumes that all prices escalate at the same
rate and takes the annual real interest rate rather than the nominal interest rate. This method allows ination to be factored out
of the analysis [72]. The Net Present Cost also takes into account
any salvage costs, which is the value remained in a component of
the system at the end of the project lifetime. The HOMER assumes
a linear depreciation of components, meaning that the salvage value of a component is directly proportional to its remaining life. It
also assumes that the salvage value is based on the replacement
cost rather than the initial capital cost.
The Levelised Cost of Energy is dened as the ratio of the total
annualized cost of the system to the annual electricity delivered
by the system [2]. It has been extensively used as an objective term
to evaluate the hybrid solarwind system congurations [73].
Other economical approaches, such as the Levelised Cost of System
[1] and life-cycle cost are also widely used [74].

4.1. Power reliability analysis

5. Optimum sizing methods for hybrid solarwind system

Because of the intermittent solar radiation and wind speed


characteristics, which highly inuence the energy production from
the hybrid system, power reliability analysis is usually considered
as an important step in any such system design process.
There are a number of methods used to calculate the reliability
of the hybrid systems. The most popular method is the loss of
power supply probability (LPSP) [65] method. The LPSP is the probability that an insufcient power supply results when the hybrid
system (PV, wind power and energy storage) is not able to satisfy
the load demand [66]. The design of a reliable stand-alone hybrid
solarwind system can be pursued by using the LPSP as the key design parameter.
Two approaches exist for the application of the LPSP in designing a stand-alone hybrid solarwind system. The rst one is based
on chronological simulations. This approach is computationally
burdensome and requires the availability of data spanning a certain period of time. The second approach uses probabilistic techniques to incorporate the uctuating nature of the resource and
the load, thus eliminating the need for time-series data.
Some other power reliability criteria also exist, such as the Loss
of Load Probability (LOLP), System Performance Level (SPL) and
Loss of Load Hours (LOLH).
The LOLP is a measure of the probability that a system demand
will exceed the systems power supply capacity in a given time
period, often expressed as the estimated number of days over a
long period. Al-Ashwal and Moghram [67] presented a method
for assessment on the basis of the LOLR (loss of load risk) to decide
an optimum proportion for the solar and wind energy in a hybrid
system. The SPL is dened as the probability that the load cannot
be satised [68]. Both the SPL and the LOLH [69] methods are also
widely used.

5.1. Simulation and optimization software

4.2. System cost analysis


Generally speaking, several economic criteria exist, such as the
Net Present Cost, Levelised Cost of Energy and life-cycle cost. The

Simulation programs are the most common tools for evaluating


performance of the hybrid solarwind systems. By using computer
simulation, the optimum conguration can be found by comparing
the performance and energy production cost of different system
congurations. Several software tools are available for designing
of hybrid systems, such as HOMER, HYBRID2, HOGA and HYBRIDS.
The Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewables
(HOMER), public domain software produced by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, uses hourly simulations for arriving at
optimum target. It is a time-step simulator using hourly load and
environmental data inputs for renewable energy system assessment; it facilitates the optimization of renewable energy systems
based on Net Present Cost for a given set of constraints and sensitivity variables.
HOMER has been used extensively in previous renewable energy system case studies [75,76] and in renewable energy system
validation tests [70]. Although simulations can take a long time,
depending on the number of variables used, its operation is simple
and straightforward. The programs limitation is that it does not
enable the user to intuitively select the appropriate components
for a system, as algorithms and calculations are not visible or
accessible.
HYBRID2 was developed by the Renewable Energy Research
Laboratory (RERL) of the University of Massachusetts. It is hybrid
system simulation software, the simulation is very precise, as it
can dene time intervals from 10 min to 1 h. National Renewable
Energy Laboratory recommends optimizing the system with
HOMER and then, once the optimum system is obtained, improving
the design using HYBRID2.
HOGA is a hybrid system optimization program developed by
the Electric Engineering Department of the University of Zaragoza
(Spain). The optimization is carried out by means of Genetic Algorithms, and can be mono-objective or multi-objective. The simulation is carried out using 1-h intervals, during which all of the

W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

parameters remained constant. The control strategies were also


optimized using Genetic Algorithms.
HYBRIDS, a commercially available application produced by
Solaris Homes, assess the technical potential of renewable energy
system for a given conguration, determining the potential renewable fraction and evaluating economic viability based on Net Present Cost. HYBRIDS is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet-based
renewable energy system assessment application and design tool,
requiring daily-average load and environmental data estimated
for each month of the year. Unlike HOMER, HYBRIDS can only simulate one conguration at a time, and is not designed to provide an
optimised conguration. HYBRIDS is comprehensive in terms of
renewable energy system variables and the level of detail required
and necessitates a higher level of knowledge of renewable energy
system congurations than HOMER. It is designed so that the user
improves their renewable energy system design skills through its
application.
5.2. Optimization techniques for hybrid solarwind system
In order to efciently and economically utilize the renewable
energy resources, one optimum sizing method is necessary. The
optimum sizing method can help to guarantee the lowest investment with full use of the system component, so that the hybrid
system can work at the optimum conditions in terms of investment and system power reliability requirement.
5.2.1. Optimization scenarios based on different meteorological data
Some research use Typical Meteorological Year data [2325] or
long period meteorological data [77] for the hybrid system optimizations. Also many optimum sizing methods were developed based
on the worst month scenario [7880]. Protogeropoulos et al. [79]
present two sizing methods for stand-alone hybrid wind-solar energy systems. The rst method is the yearly average monthly
method in which the size of PV panel and wind turbine is derived
from the yearly averaged monthly values. Similarly, the load is represented by the yearly mean monthly value. The second method is
termed the worst months method, it choose the worst months
for solar and wind energy system separately. A similar sizing method, developed by Morgan [80], is the worst month method. Contrary to worst months method, this method chooses the worst
month as the one in which the largest total area of PV module
and wind turbine occurs.
The time-series simulation method is the most commonly used
renewable energy system optimization routine. Generally, most of
the researchers used time-series meterological station data for feasibility study and design of hybrid systems. The hybrid systems
behaviour is calculated based on the time-series meteorological input data, which usually have a resolution of 1-h intervals. Borowy
and Salameh [43] developed an algorithm to optimize hybrid solarwind system; the model proposed was based on a long-term
hourly solar radiation and peak load demand data of the site chosen. Other applications which also use time-series simulation
method include Baring-Gould et al. [81] and Notton et al. [82],
which use incremental time-scales of 1 h and 1 min, respectively.
Notton et al. [82] also studied the effect of time step, input and output power prole on the sizing result of stand-alone solar energy
systems based on a simulation procedure.
Main disadvantage of the time-step simulation method is that it
requires signicant computational effort. Furthermore, time-series
environmental input data, especially wind data, may not be available for many locations. To improve the performance of hybrid system optimizations, many efforts have been conducted to decrease
the simulation time and/or reduce the number of variables used.
Celik [83] developed a predictive algorithm requiring monthlyaverage values of wind speed distribution parameters and solar

385

radiations, enabling the estimation of system performance using


simple wind distribution parameters and thus eliminating the
necessity for time-series hourly data. Protogeropoulos et al. [79]
simplied this process further by using an annual average method.
Muselli et al. [84] and Kaye [85] developed these predictive algorithms further in the form of stochastic and dynamic optimization
models, incorporating uncertainties in demand, component failure
and weather behaviour in the estimation of renewable energy system potentials.
5.2.2. Optimization techniques
As the number of optimization variables increase, the number
of simulations also increases exponentially, with a consequent increase in time and effort required. It is therefore very important for
designers to nd a feasible optimization technique to select the
optimum system congurations quickly and accurately.
Various optimization techniques for hybrid solarwind system
have been reported in the literature such as graphic construction
methods, probabilistic approach, iterative technique, articial
intelligence methods, multi-objective design. Using feasible optimization method, optimum congurations which meet the load
requirement can be obtained [1,2].
5.2.2.1. Graphic construction method. A graphical construction technique for guring the optimum combination of PV array and battery for a stand-alone hybrid solarwind system has been
presented by Borowy and Salameh [33] based on using long-term
data of solar radiation and wind speed recorded for every hour of
the day for 30 years. Load consumption of a typical house in Massachusetts was used as the load demand for the hybrid system. For
a given load and a desired LPSP, the optimum conguration or
number of batteries and PV modules was calculated based on the
minimum cost of the system.
Borowy and Salameh [33] assumed that the total cost of the system is linearly related to both the number of PV modules and the
number of batteries. The minimum cost will be at the point of tangency of the curve that represents the relationship between the
number of PV modules and the number of batteries. Then the optimum sizing of the battery bank and the PV array can be achieved.
Another graphical technique has been given by Markvart [86] to
optimally design a hybrid solarwind power generation system by
considering the monthly-average solar and wind energy values.
However, in both graphical methods, only two parameters
(either PV and battery, or PV and wind turbine) were included in
the optimization process, some important factors (such as the PV
module slope angle and the wind turbine installation height.) were
completely neglected.
5.2.2.2. Probabilistic approach. Probabilistic approaches of sizing
hybrid solarwind system account the effect of the solar radiation
and wind speed variabilitys in the system design.
Bucciarelli [87] proposed a sizing method treating storage energy variation as a random walk. The probability density for daily
increment or decrement of storage level was approximated by a
two-event probability distribution [88]. The method was further
extended to account for the effect of correlation between day to
day radiation values [89]. Bucciarellis method was modied by
Gordon [90] and Bagul et al. [88] where the storage energy transitions were approximated by three-event probabilistic approach to
overcome the limitations of conventional two-event approach in
matching the actual distribution of the energy generated by hybrid
systems.
Tina et al. [91] presented a probabilistic approach based on the
convolution technique [92] to incorporate the uctuating nature of
the resources and the load, thus eliminating the need for time-series data, to assess the long-term performance of a hybrid solar

386

W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

wind system for both stand-alone and grid-connected applications.


Performance of the hybrid system under study is assessed by
employing probabilistic models for both PV array and wind turbines. Finally, a numerical example application was included to
illustrate the validity of the developed probabilistic model: the results are compared to those resulting from time-series simulations.
Disadvantage of this probabilistic approach is that it cannot represent the dynamic changing performance of the hybrid system.
5.2.2.3. Iterative technique. Yang et al. [2] proposed a Hybrid Solar
wind System Optimization (HSWSO) model, which utilizes the
iterative optimization technique following the LPSP model and
Levelised Cost of Energy model for power reliability and system
cost respectively. Three sizing parameters are considered in the
simulation, i.e. the capacity of PV system, rated power of wind
system, and capacity of the battery bank. For the desired LPSP
value, the optimum conguration can be identied nally by
iteratively searching all the possible sets of congurations to
achieve the lowest Levelised Cost of Energy.
Similarly, an iterative optimization method was presented by
Kellogg et al. [93] to select the wind turbine size and PV module
number using an iterative procedure to make the difference between the generated and demanded power (DP) as close to zero
as possible over a period of time. From this iterative procedure,
several possible combinations of solarwind generation capacities
were obtained. The total annual cost for each conguration is then
calculated and the combination with the lowest cost is selected to
represent the optimum mixture.
For iterative optimization method, minimization of the system
cost was implemented either by linearly changing the values of
the corresponding decision variables or employing linear programming techniques, resulting in suboptimal solutions and increased
computational effort requirements. Furthermore, it usually does
not optimize the PV module slope angle and wind turbine installation heights which also highly affect both, the resulting energy production and system costs.
5.2.2.4. Articial intelligence methods. Articial intelligence is a
term that in its broadest sense would mean the ability of a machine
or artefact to perform similar kinds of functions that characterise
human thought [94]. Articial intelligence methods, such as Genetic Algorithms, Articial Neural Networks and Fuzzy Logic, are
widely used to optimize a hybrid system in order to maximize its
economic benets.
Genetic Algorithms are selected because they have shown to be
highly applicable to cases of non-linear systems, where the location of the global optimum is a difcult task. Due to the probabilistic development of solutions, Genetic Algorithms are not restricted
by local optimum; it can nd the global optimum system conguration with relative computational simplicity compared to conventional optimization methods such as dynamic programming and
gradient techniques.
Koutroulis et al. [77] proposed a methodology for optimum design of a hybrid solarwind system. Purpose of the proposed methodology is to suggest, among a list of commercially available
system devices, the optimum number and type of units ensuring
that the 20-year round total system cost is minimized by Genetic
Algorithms subject to the constraint that the load energy require-

ments are completely covered, resulting in zero load rejection.


Yang et al. [1] proposed one optimum sizing method based on Genetic Algorithms by using the Typical Meteorological Year data.
This optimization model is proposed to calculate the system optimum conguration which can achieve the desired LPSP with minimum Annualized Cost of System. The author has brought into
picture two optimization variables that are not commonly seen,
PV array slope angle and turbine installation height. Dufo-Lpez
[70] and Seeling [12] used Genetic Algorithms reducing simulation
time signicantly, addressing the problems of uncertain renewable
energy supplies, load demand and the non-linear characteristics of
some components by incorporating past and future demand. Genetic Algorithms are also widely used in the design of large power
distribution systems [95] and the solution of power economic dispatch problems [96] because of their ability to handle complex
problems with linear or non-linear cost functions both, accurately
and efciently.
Based on Genetic Algorithms, one pilot hybrid solarwind
power generation project designed by Yang et al. was built to supply power for a telecommunication relay station from renewable
energy sources on a remote island (Dalajia Island) along the
south-east coast of China [1,4]. The electric use for the normal
operation of the telecommunication station includes 1300 W
GSM base station RBS2206 consumption (24 V AC) and 200 W for
microwave communication (24 V DC). According to the project
requirement and technical considerations, a continuous 1500 W
energy consumption is chosen as the demand load, and the detailed design parameters are shown in Table 1. Furthermore, based
on the one year time-series eld data of the pilot project, Zhou
et al. [5] studied the system behaviours and good performance
observed.
Articial Neural Network, often just called Neural Network, is
a mathematical model or computational model based on biological
neural networks. It consists of an interconnected group of articial
neurons and processes information using a connectionist approach
to computation. Kalogirou [97] proposed an optimization model of
solar systems by using Articial Neural Networks and Genetic
Algorithms. The system is modeled using a TRNSYS computer program and the climatic conditions of Cyprus, included in a Typical
Meteorological Year le. The Articial Neural Network is trained
using the results of a small number of TRNSYS simulations. Subsequently, a Genetic Algorithm is employed to estimate the optimum
congurations, for maximizing life-cycle savings: thus the design
time is reduced substantially.
5.2.2.5. System control for energy ow and management. One main
problem for the hybrid solarwind system is related to the control
and supervision of the energy distribution. The dynamic interaction between the renewable energy sources and the load demand
can lead to, critical problems of stability and power quality, that
are not very common in conventional power systems. Managing
ow of energy throughout the proposed hybrid system to assure
continuous power supply for the load demand is essential.
Conventional approach that controlling power supply to the
load requirement according to the demand was used in various hybrid systems. In the conventional approach, power electronics
based DCDC converter are used for maximum energy extract from
solar and wind energy resources and control the complete hybrid

Table 1
Detailed design parameters of the pilot hybrid solarwind power generation project.

Design parameters

Load

PV array

Wind turbine

Battery capacity

1500 W (+24 V)

MBFP100
100 W  78 = 7.8 kW
(29.5 inclination)

WT6000/024
6 kW  2 = 12 kW

GFM-1000 (2 V)
5000 Ah (24 V)

387

W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

system. Some researchers have used different conventional controlling technique [98] for different combination of hybrid energy
systems. Park et al. [99] presented the power compensation system
for controlling energy ow through hybrid energy system according to load demand. Valenciaga and Puleston [100] and Onar
et al. [101] developed controller for hybrid power systems.
Valenciaga and Puleston [100] developed three modes of operation
and they used sliding mode control methods [102] for controlling
the hybrid system.
Beside the conventional approaches, some advanced controlling
techniques exist, which can remove the power uctuations caused
by the variability of the renewable energy sources that may affect
the quality of the power delivered to the load.
El-Shater et al. [103] discussed the energy ow and management of a hybrid solarwindfuel system. Each of the three energy
sources is controlled so as to deliver energy at optimum efciency
by Fuzzy Logic control technique which is employed to achieve
maximum power tracking for both solar and wind energies and
to deliver is maximum power to a xed DC voltage bus. Chedid
and Rahman [104] presented controller design that monitors the
operation of the stand-alone or grid-connected systems. The controller determines the energy available from each of the system
components and environmental credit of the system. The model
developed can give production cost, unmet and spilled energies,
and battery charged and discharged losses. Some new approaches
based on Fuzzy Logic and Genetic Algorithm techniques [105,106]
are also proposed for the scheduling of the battery and the diesel
generator of a hybrid solarwinddiesel system.
5.2.2.6. Multi-objective design. Whenever we wish, in any engineering eld, to carry out a design, it is likely that we wish to have in
mind several objectives simultaneously, being typical that some
of them conict with each other [107]. In the optimum sizing of
hybrid solarwinddiesel systems, we wish to carry out the design
considering simultaneously at least two objectives (costs and pollutant emissions). These two objectives are in conict, since a
reduction in design costs implies a rise in pollutant emissions
and vice versa.
Therefore, the task of getting good results in problems of this
kind (multi-objective) is complicated. Given the complexity of this
kind of problems, because of the large number of variables that are
usually considered and of the mathematical models applied, classic
optimization techniques may consume excessive CPU time or even
being incapable of taking into account all the characteristics associated to the posed problem. In the specialised technical literature
[27,70,108] the design of these systems is usually done by search-

ing the conguration and/or control that yields the lowest total
cost through the useful life of the installation. However, the environmental issues associated to this type of installations should also
be taken into account during the design process. Until now, usually, the pollutant emissions have been calculated after obtaining
the design that minimises costs. In some cases, as in the HOMER
program, it is possible to consider the pollutant emissions by economically valuating them, and therefore becoming a part of the
costs objective function. This mapping of costs to emissions is subjective, and decisively inuences the results of the design. The
method that HOMER uses for the multi-objective design is known
as the method of the weights [1].
Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs) stand out in
the multi-objective design task, being applied in numerous papers.
Pelet et al. [109] carried out an application of MOEAs for the optimization of system cost and CO2 emissions for a stand-alone hybrid system in which three hotels and a town in the Tunisian
Sahara were thermally and electrically supplied. Bernal-Agustn
et al. [71] present a multi-objective optimization (NPC versus
CO2 emissions) for hybrid a solarwinddiesel system with battery
storage based on MOEAs. Dufo-Lpez and Bernal-Agustn [110]
presented a triple multi-objective optimization to minimise simultaneously the total cost throughout the useful life of the installation, pollutant emissions (CO2) and unmet load. For this task, a
MOEAs and a Genetic Algorithm have been used in order to nd
the best combination of components and control strategies for
the hybrid system.
Strength Pareto Evolutionary Algorithm was also applied to the
multi-objective design of hybrid systems. The design is posed as an
optimization problem whose solution allows obtaining the conguration of the system as well as the control strategy that simultaneously minimises both the total cost through the useful life of the
installation and the pollutant emissions.
5.3. Brief summary of the optimization techniques
Based on the detailed illustration given above, Table 2 shows a
summary of the relative merits and demerits of different optimization software and techniques for better identication.
6. Conclusion
The stand-alone hybrid solarwind power generation system is
recognized as a viable alternative to grid supply or conventional
fuel-based remote area power supplies all over the world. It is generally more suitable than systems that only have one energy source

Table 2
Simple summary of the relative merits and demerits of different optimization methodologies.
Merits
Software tools

HOMER
HOGA
HYBRIDS

Optimization
techniques

Graphic
construction
method
Probabilistic
approach
Iterative technique
Articial
intelligence
methods
Multi-objective
design

Demerits
Cannot enable the user to intuitively select
appropriate system components

Carried out by genetic algorithms, can be mono or multi objective


Comprehensive in terms of optimization variables, and require higher
level knowledge of system congurations

Only simulate one conguration at a time


Only two parameters can be included in the
optimization process

Eliminate the need of time-series data

Find the global optimum system conguration with relative


computational simplicity
Can optimize simultaneously at least two conict objectives

Cannot represent the dynamic changing


performance of the system
Usually result in increased computational
efforts and suboptimal solutions

388

W. Zhou et al. / Applied Energy 87 (2010) 380389

for supply of electricity to off-grid applications. However, the design, control, and optimization of the hybrid systems are usually
very complex tasks.
This paper has reviewed the up-to-date progress of this technology, which includes the feasibility study, component simulations,
system optimization and control technologies of the hybrid systems. The feasibility study is carried out on both time-series meteorological data bases and statistical meteorological data bases.
Most of the commonly used criteria that evaluate the system
power reliability and system cost are investigated. Various optimization techniques have been reviewed including the graphic construction methods, probabilistic approach, iterative technique,
articial intelligence methods, multi-objective design etc.
According to the review carried out in this paper, a detailed
renewable energy resource analysis at rst stage of the design
for optimum sizing of a hybrid solarwind energy system and for
optimum resource allocation based on load demand is essential
for reducing the hybrid systems initial cost and operation cost.
Furthermore, the inclusion of articial intelligence as part of the
energy management system in the future can denitely help operators reduce the systems cost further.
Acknowledgements
The work described in this paper is supported by a grant from
the Sun Hung Kai Properties Group (Project No. ZZ1T) and a research grant from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Project
No. Z02T).
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