A Quantitative Analysis of Energy Sharing in Community Microgrids


Traditional power grids generate electricity from fossil fuel or nuclear sources in centralised power plants. The generated electricity is transported over transmission and distribution networks to end users, whose electrical loads consume the electricity. A number of issues—energy losses, environmental costs, and high capital expenses—associated with centralised grids have driven rapid replacement by distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar PV systems, wind generation, and batteries. As DER can generate and store electricity locally, they can power community microgrids (CMs) in which producers, prosumers, and consumers can cooperate to generate, share and consume electricity. Well-designed CMs can effectively replace conventional grids. Such CMs minimise the use of non-renewable resources, creation of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions. In essence, community microgrids incorporate the principles of circularity or circular economy to enable access to electricity while reducing air pollution. In this paper, we provide a quantitative analysis to determine sizing of sources in a CM considering various load and generation scenarios such that a CM can function reliably under various scenarios.

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  1. 1.

    As this AC power system architecture is proven to be robust and reliable, power grids are built based on this same or similar architecture.

  2. 2.

    As solar panels come in a wide range of capacities (10 W, 20 W, 100 W, 250 W, 300 W, etc.), systems of different capacities can be created by interconnecting the required number of solar panels.

  3. 3.

    Solar generation systems, compared to coal power plants, save approximately 800 grams of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated from them. However, the total impact on the environment is determined by all the components of the system. For instance, if sulphur hexaflouride, a common insulating material, is used, it can severely damage the environment.

    Fig. 2

    Accelerating growth curve of worldwide installed solar capacity. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth_of_photovoltaics

  4. 4.

    A few illustrative tariffs are time-of-use (TOU) pricing, real-time pricing (RTP), and critical peak pricing (CPP).

  5. 5.

    A few illustrative ones are direct load control (DLC), interruptible/curtailable (I/C) service, demand bidding/buyback (DB), emergency demand response programmes (EDRP), capacity market programmes (CMP), and ancillary services market programmes (ASMP).

  6. 6.

    A set of solar panels connected in series is called a string, and, a set of strings connected in parallel is called an array.

  7. 7.

    It is defined as the current through the battery divided by the theoretical current draw under which the battery would deliver its nominal rated capacity in 1 h. The capacity of a battery is commonly rated at 1C, meaning that a fully charged battery rated at 1Ah should provide 1A for 1 h. The same battery discharging at 0.5C should provide 500 mA for 2 h, and at 2C it delivers 2 A for 30 min.

  8. 8.

    The difference between “prosumers with storage” and “consumers with storage” is that the latter can only use storage for internal consumption, and cannot supply energy to the grid.

  9. 9.

    Solar panel output can be sent directly into the earth (grounded) through a parallel line, while wind turbines can change the pitch of their blades to control power output.

  10. 10.

    If it is a hot day, all participants will be using their air conditioners.

  11. 11.

    Readers are referred to standard textbooks on optimisation for specific methods to do so.

  12. 12.

    Convolution integrals are used to compute statistical properties of sums of several variables. They are used to answer questions such as: “Given the statistical properties of two variables l1 and l2, what are the statistical properties (distribution, mean, standard deviation) of l1 + l2?”


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Correspondence to Harshad Khadilkar.

Additional information

A prosumer is a person (or entity) who consumes as well as produces a product (Wikipedia 2012).

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Khadilkar, H., Seetharam, D.P. & Ganu, T. A Quantitative Analysis of Energy Sharing in Community Microgrids. Mater Circ Econ 2, 3 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42824-020-00003-1

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  • Distributed energy resources
  • Community microgrids
  • Circular economy
  • Solar PV
  • Batteries
  • Energy storage systems