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International Journal of Energy for a Clean Environment
SJR: 0.195 SNIP: 0.659 CiteScore™: 1.2

ISSN Imprimer: 2150-3621
ISSN En ligne: 2150-363X

International Journal of Energy for a Clean Environment

Précédemment connu sous le nom Clean Air: International Journal on Energy for a Clean Environment

DOI: 10.1615/InterJEnerCleanEnv.v10.i1-4.50
pages 73-101

RENEWABLE ENERGY PROSPECTS AND FEASIBILITY FOR ISOLATED COMMUNITIES

Constantine M. Tarawneh
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA
Horacio Vasquez
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA
Lariza Navarro
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA
Vanessa Reyna
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA
Michael A. Acosta
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA
Van A. Reidhead
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999, USA

RÉSUMÉ

We are nearing the end of the first decade in the twenty-first century, yet there remain millions of people around the world living in poorly developed areas without electricity. Motivated by their needs, small- to medium-size solar power systems (250−650 W) were set up and utilized to conduct numerous tests to study renewable energy prospects and feasibility for isolated communities outside the power grid. In particular, the experimental efforts focused on modeling the power needs of several rural areas of the Municipality of Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, whose mayor approached the authors to design a sustainable working model for the region, which was found to be a good representative of the power needs of many isolated communities. System performance was characterized for a number of parameters including rated power of solar panels, size and number of storage batteries, and electric loads used. The experiments conducted included charging deep-cycle batteries using photovoltaic solar panels and discharging those utilizing different power consumption scenarios. Additional experiments included several week-long tests aimed at determining the real-time operating capability of the devised systems. The experimental results obtained indicate that carefully constructed solar power systems can provide people living in isolated communities with sufficient energy to meet their basic power needs sustainably and without interruption. Achieving this outcome, however, requires not only factoring in standard environmental data but also human factors research to make perfectly clear the end consumer's expectations about what they will power with it, how often, and for how long.


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