Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Paul Chinowsky

Second Advisor

Bernard Amadei

Third Advisor

Michael Hannigan

Abstract

The volatile prices of fossil fuels and their contribution to global warming have caused many people to turn to renewable energy systems. Many developing communities are forced to use these systems as they are too far from electrical distribution. As a result, numerous software models have been developed to simulate hybrid renewable energy systems. However almost, if not all, implementations are static in design. A static design limits the ability of the model to account for changes over time. Dynamic modeling can be used to fill the gaps where other modeling techniques fall short. This modeling practice allows the user to account for the effects of technological and economic factors over time. These factors can include changes in energy demand, energy production, and income level. Dynamic modeling can be particularly useful for developing communities who are off-grid and developing at rapid rates. In this study, a dynamic model was used to evaluate a real world system. A non-governmental organization interested in improving their current infrastructure was selected. Five different scenarios were analyzed and compared in order to discover which factors the model is most sensitive to. In four of the scenarios, a new energy system was purchased in order to account for the opening of a restaurant that would be used as a source of local income generation. These scenarios were then compared to a base case in which a new system was not purchased, and the restaurant was not opened. Finally, the results were used to determine which variables had the greatest impact on the various outputs of the simulation.

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