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Feasibility Analysis of Stand-Alone Renewable Energy Supply for
Telecommunication Tower Using Homer
Article in Applied Mechanics and Materials · January 2016
DOI: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMM.818.223
4 authors, including:
Zuraimy Adzis
Yanuar Z. Arief
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
University Malaysia Sarawak
N.A. Muhamad
Universiti Sains Malaysia
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Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol. 818 (2016) pp 223-227
© (2016) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland
Submitted: 2014-09-18
Accepted: 2015-01-22
Mohamad Shahrizal Mohd Noor1,a, Zuraimy Adzis1,b, Yanuar Z. Arief1,c *,
Nor Asiah Muhamad1,d
Institute of High Voltage & High Current (IVAT), Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
81310 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
shahrizal@cnnsystem.com, zuraimy@fke.utm.my, c*yzarief@fke.utm.my, dnorasiah@fke.utm.my
Keywords: Renewable energy, solar photovoltaic, HOMER simulation, diesel generator,
communication tower, life cycle cost, net present cost.
Abstract. This paper deals with the importance and need of using solar photovoltaic (PV) system as
a stand-alone system instead of diesel generators for electrical energy supply of a communication
tower owned by Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad at G0422 Batu 18, Ulu Langat, Selangor, Malaysia. It
can be considered as a commercial renewable energy application in Malaysia, addressing the
potential and possibility of adopting solar energy resources, particularly for sectors with high
energy consumption. The electric power generation system, which consists of solar PV system
hybrid with diesel generator, has the ability to provide 24 hours electricity to the load. To optimize
the system design, this work compares a wide range of equipment with different constraints and
sensitivities. The Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewables (HOMER) was utilized for
designing the system in the early phases of planning and decision making in rural electrification
projects due to its flexibility. The analysis is based on the technical properties and life cycle cost
(LCC) of the system. The initial capital cost, cost of installation and operation costs over the
system’s life span is comprised in the LCC. This system offers a better reliability, efficiency,
flexibility of planning and environmental benefits compared to the diesel generators systems by
saving the environment from the burning of fossil fuels. The proposed system is able to supply
3.5kW of power which is suitable for actual site loading requirement of around 3kW. The economic
output from HOMER exhibits that the tower without diesel generator, total net present cost is RM
610,639, the highest compared with a tower with diesel generator; RM 421,244.
According to Malaysia Energy Information Hub (MEIH) the consumption of energy in Malaysia
rises rapidly, increasing at an average rate of 5% in the 1980s and 12% in 2009[1]. The Malaysian
government has looked into the renewable energy (RE) sources such as solar energy to be one of
the alternatives to face problems related with the increase in energy demand. The consumption of
fossil fuel in electricity generation contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases. The emission of
greenhouse gases causes global warming and climate change. The increase in fossil fuel prices
today and the country's commitment to reduce the carbon emission has supported the interests in
expanding the use of renewable energy.
Hybrid energy is the combined use of two or more forms of energy resulting in a more efficient
system overall. In some applications, it is both economical and desirable to use a hybrid system,
whereby the photovoltaic (PV) supplies some or most of the load, but with an auxiliary generator as
a backup. This allows the stand-alone PV system to be designed to a quite low availability, usually
resulting in considerable savings on battery capacity and to a lesser extent on PV array.
Due to the demands for higher reliability combined with lower operational costs, the use of
hybrid systems has become an obvious solution. Additionally, life cost analysis of such systems
All rights reserved. No part of contents of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of Trans
Tech Publications, www.ttp.net. (ID:, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia-25/11/15,09:15:42)
Progress in Energy and Thermal Sciences
show that a hybrid system lifetime cost provides more benefits in comparison with typical power
supply schemes such as conventional generators. For telecommunication installations, it is
considered as common practice to supply power using a diesel engine generator (DEG) system or a
stand-alone PV system.
The objective of this research work is to perform feasibility analysis on PV diesel hybrid
renewable energy system for telecommunication tower using HOMER (The Hybrid Optimization
Model for Electric Renewables) simulation as an alternative for existing system. The analysis
including economic and effectiveness of the hybrid system are also reported. The three major
actions could be performed by HOMER are simulation, optimization and sensitivity analysis[2-4].
The proposed hybrid renewable consists of a solar PV panels, battery, and charge controller
(inverter) are included as part of back-up and storage system. Figure. 1 shows the block diagram for
hybrid system of PV-diesel generator.
Solar PV Panels
Diesel Generator
AC/DC Load
Battery Bank
Figure 1 : Block diagram PV-Diesel Generator hybrid system.
Figure. 2 shows the simulink circuit for simulation of PV diesel hybrid system for powering
telecommunication tower. This circuit are consist of PV panel, buck converter, rechargeable battery
and primary load. Table 1 shows the parameter and specification of this circuit. This research
project consist of a PV diesel charge controller using a buck converter to track the maximum power
point (MPP) of PV module. The main contribution of the project is the modeling of buck converter
using equation modeling, which allows the input voltage of the buck converter to be controlled by
maximum power point tracker (MPPT) algorithm. A charge controller is an essential part of any
wind or solar system to ensure the batteries are not over or under charged. The charge controller
monitors the battery voltage and switches the batteries off charge when they are fully charged, and
switches them back on charge when they reach a pre-set level of discharge. The equipment is high
reliability because of having extra-large heat sink and efficient ventilation design ensure reliable
and efficient operation.
The electrical characteristic of PV module considered in this work is described in Table 2.
Figure. 3 shows the annual P-V radiation characteristic of PV module. The average of
5.343kWh/m2/d value is chosen from the output result of HOMER simulation.
Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol. 818
Figure 2 : Simulink circuit diagram by HOMER.
Table 1: Parameter of simulink circuit.
6V, 1,156Ah
Table 2 Electrical characteristic of PV module radiance level of 1000 W/m2.
Progress in Energy and Thermal Sciences
Figure 3 : P-V radiation characteristic of PV module.
Results and Discussion
The simulation is performed for 3.5 kWh of average output of PV module according to PV/diesel
generator module as shown in Figure. 2. The inputs of PV/diesel generator controller are voltage
and current of the PV module, diesel generator and battery cell for backup energy. The main
objective of the simulation is to ensure the simulink model can produce 3kW output voltage which
is to run the all telecommunication system with a load of rectifier, free cooling box, and other
electrical parts. PV/diesel generator system is used not only to reduce the frequency of breakdowns
and save maintenance cost, but also to review the cost effective. The total net present cost of RM
421,244 was obtained in this initial cost if we build the PV/diesel generator system for 25 years as
shown in Figure. 4. It is found that the summary of cash flow for each component that been used,
namely PV, diesel generator and battery (Surrette 6CS25P). The total cash flow for running the
system using PV is about RM66,579. When using diesel generator it will cost us about RM66,940.
However, a cost of RM244,859 will be burdened to us if we use the battery (Surrette 6CS25P) to
run this system. The total amount which are consumed here is include the cost for capital,
replacement, operation and maintenance (O&M). Therefore, from the comparison for three energy
sources it can be concluded that the most efficient to be used is PV as shown in Figure. 5.
For capital section shows battery cell is the highest where the initial cost is RM160,000
compared to other components. For run this system, we use 80 batteries where the autonomy for
backup supply is 279 hours, almost 12 days this system can remain operate when main supply
energy generator or solar breakdown.
Figure 4 : Simulink PV/Diesel Generator System for overall simulation result.
Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol. 818
Figure 5 : Result of Cash Flow Summary Details
At this situation, the PV cannot be operated temporary. It is also found that the monthly average
electrical production of this system. From the results, we found a total of 78% of the energy
generated from solar energy sources, while 22% of the energy produced from generator energy.
78% of the solar energy produced is 9,372 kWh/yr, while 22% of energy from diesel generator is
2,682 kWh/yr. The total amount of energy that can be produced by solar and generator energy
sources is of 12,055 kWh/yr. Therefore, average power can be generated by generator-solar system
is 1004.58kWh/month. For the load, the maximum load average is 10,439kWh/yr, which means
average load per month is 869,92kW/h.
An analysis of a PV-diesel hybrid renewable for telecommunication tower using HOMER
simulation at site project G0422, BT 18 Ulu Langat, Selangor, Malaysia has been performed. The
renewable energy system is able to supply 3.5kW of power which is suitable for an actual site
loading requirement of about 3kW. Economic output from HOMER exhibits that
telecommunication tower without diesel generator total net present cost is RM 610,639, much
higher compared with the tower with diesel generator (RM421,244).
The authors would like to thank Malaysian Ministry of Education (MoE) and Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia (UTM) for facilitating of this works by awarding research grant (Vot. No.
Q.J1300.2523.00H19, R.J13000.7823.4L055, R. J130000.7809.4F515, R. J130000.7909.4S101,
Q.J130000.2509.08H65, and R. J130000.2523.04H67).
[1] Malaysia Energy Information Hub (MEIH): http://meih.st.gov.my/statistics
[2] M. A. Dalla Costa, L. Schuch, L. Michels, C. Rech, J. R. Pinheiro and G. H. Costa, Autonomous
street lighting system based on solar energy and LEDs, Federal University of Santa Maria UFSM.
[3] M. S. Alam and D. W. Gao, Modeling and analysis of awind/pv/fuel cell hybrid power system in
HOMER, IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications, 23-25 September 2007.
[4] N. A. A. Razak, M. M. Othman, I. Musirin, Optimal sizing and operational strategy of hybrid
renewable energy system using HOMER, The 4th International Power Engineering and
Optimization Conf. (PEOCO2010), Shah Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA: 23-24 June 2010.
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