Optimal design and dispatch of a system of diesel generators, photovoltaics and batteries for remote locations

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Mathematical Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 5-8-2017

Publication Title

Optimization and Engineering

Document Type



Renewable energy technologies, specifically, solar photovoltaic cells, combined with battery storage and diesel generators, form a hybrid system capable of independently powering remote locations, i.e., those isolated from larger grids. If sized correctly, hybrid systems reduce fuel consumption compared to diesel generator-only alternatives. We present an optimization model for establishing a hybrid power design and dispatch strategy for remote locations, such as a military forward operating base, that models the acquisition of different power technologies as integer variables and their operation using nonlinear expressions. Our cost-minimizing, nonconvex, mixed-integer, nonlinear program contains a detailed battery model. Due to its complexities, we present linearizations, which include exact and convex under-estimation techniques, and a heuristic, which determines an initial feasible solution to serve as a “warm start” for the solver. We determine, in a few hours at most, solutions within 5% of optimality for a candidate set of technologies; these solutions closely resemble those from the nonlinear model. Our instances contain real data spanning a yearly horizon at hour fidelity and demonstrate that a hybrid system could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50% compared to a generator-only solution.

Record links to items hosted by external providers may require fee for full-text.