Task 11

PV hybrid systems within mini-grids

Task 11: "PV Hybrid Systems within Mini-grids", which is planned to operate from 2006 to 2011, builds on the work on PV hybrid systems undertaken in Task 3.

A particular focus of the Task is the operation of PV within mini-grids (defined as the interconnection of small, modular generation sources to low voltage ac distribution systems). These mini-grids may be powered by a combination of PV, wind, micro-hydro, fossil fuel gensets, and other sources, they typically supply multiple users, and they may be interconnected with (or be part of) the distribution grid of the local electric utility. This raises issues of system control and coordination, sustainability and the role of local electric utilities in different jurisdictions.

The main goal of Task 11 is to promote the role of PV technology as a technically relevant and competitive source in PV hybrid mini-grids. It aims at enhancing the knowledge-base of multi-source power generation systems including PV and associated electric distribution networks.

The objectives of Task 11 are to:

  • define concepts for sustainable PV hybrid mini-grids taking into account local factors (specificity of the application, financing regimes, location, others);
  • provide recommendations on individual designs (mix of technologies, architecture, size, performances, other) in order to achieve high penetration level of PV as a mean to improve quality, reliability and economics of electrification systems such as mini-grids;
  • assess the potential of technologies to be mixed with PV for hybridisation; and,
  • compile and disseminate best-practices on PV hybrid power systems.

The Task 11 work programme addresses technical and non-technical issues to increasing the market penetration and uptake of PV hybrid systems. Technical issues include design options, operational situations and technology mix. This forms the bulk of the work in this Task. Non-technical issues pertain to the social, economic and environmental conditions through which these systems become sustainable. The work programme is organised into four main subtasks, each of which is led by a Task 11 member.

  • Subtask 10: Design Issues - seeks to develop and disseminate best practices, design tools, and design information for PV hybrids in mini-grids
  • Subtask 20: Control Issues - addresses control, communication, and system management issues in PV hybrid mini-grids
  • Subtask 30: PV penetration in Mini-grids - considers design approaches to maximize use of PV in hybrid systems.
  • Subtask 40: Sustainability Conditions - examines economic, social, and environmental factors that affect the success and long-term sustainability of PV hybrids in mini-grids.

Activities within the subtasks are carried out on a task-sharing basis as in other tasks of the PVPS Implementing Agreement. The Task 11 participants meet twice yearly to review progress and plan future work. Results are disseminated through IEA PVPS reports and technical papers in relevant conferences and journals. Specialized workshops to disseminate and discuss results are organized to coincide with major PV industry conferences and meetings. See publications and reports links at the top of this webpage, for further Task 11 information.

Task 11 status reports can be found in the annual reports of the IEA PVPS Programme.