INEGI creates tool to evaluate profitability of residential electric micro grids

AGERAR is a cross-border project currently in its final stretch and among the results that the consortium will release in the last quarter of 2019 is an innovative method developed by INEGI. It is a tool to simulate the installation of micro-grids in residential buildings, which will serve as the basis of a web application to help potential users assess the viability of these systems in a simple and autonomous way.

The relevance of the initiative is in line with the rise of micro-grids - systems that make it possible to produce and consume this energy from renewable sources - which has been gaining popularity as the costs associated with renewable energies decrease and the need to boost decarbonisation grows.

“To facilitate the configuration of these micro grids, we created a calculation algorithm for the pre-dimension of the storage and production of electricity in solar photovoltaic systems,” explains Ana Magalhães, responsible for the project at INEGI.

In order to develop the algorithm, validate and calibrate it, INEGI experts have carried out case studies with different building types and consumption profiles. The result? “By entering information about the consumption profile and the location of the facilities, the algorithm determines, for example, the required investment, the useful life, the maintenance cost, or the predicted return on investment.”

The tool also contemplates a feasibility study of the integration of thermal energy with surplus energy produced by the photovoltaic system in water heating, using heat accumulators or heat pumps.

“A web interface is currently being developed to make this solution available online,” adds Ana Magalhães.

The work was developed within the scope of the AGERAR (Renewable Energy Storage and Management in Commercial and Residential Applications) project, which was born in 2017 with the objective of developing and disseminating self-production, storage and energy management solutions in the context of micro grids in residential and service buildings.

Over the past three years, partners have developed new tools and technologies, such as sensors, communication and tele-monitoring systems, and control systems, which have been tested on experimental micro grids.

INEGI was responsible for developing and evaluating new algorithms and tools to optimize the management of these networks, as well as supporting the creation of models of renewable energy storage systems for commercial, residential and domestic applications.

Also participating in the project are the University of Seville, the Andalusian Energy Agency, the National Institute of Aerospace Technique (INTA), the Algarve Regional Energy and Environment Agency (AREAL), the Galician Technological Institute (ITG), the University do Algarve and the University of Évora.

The AGERAR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) through the INTERREG Spain-Portugal program (POCTEP).

Universidade do Porto
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