PV-Battery Stand-Alone Grids: Simulation, Design, Quality Control

Isolated mini-grids based on electricity generated from renewable sources and equipped with a grid-forming battery-powered inverter can reduce the levelized cost of electricity significantly, particularly in remote areas. The establishment of large isolated mini-grids, e. g. for industrial parks or even whole towns, is particularly complex, as the grid-topological distribution of generators and battery storage units must be optimized, taking land prices and infrastructure costs into account.

Inselnetz MRO
© CSIRO Australien
Electricity supply for the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia with a large isolated mini-grid.

Independent studies on system design and quality assurance during the planning phase can clearly reduce the risk for project developers, investors and insurance companies. This forms the basis for bankability and insurability to guarantee performance for this type of capital-intensive electrical infrastructure.

In the »Square Kilometre Array (SKA)« project, a radio telescope with more than 130 000 antennas will be installed over an area of more than 1500 km2 in Western Australia. The geographical distribution of the load and supply of the total energy demand of about 25 GWh per year is intended to be provided by several large isolated mini-grids. Fraunhofer ISE prepared an optimized system design for this project, including the necessary simulation of the PV-battery power supply and an economic feasibility study. Furthermore, we achieved holistic quality assurance for the project from the planning side with recommendations on component selection and optimization of the system integration.