Unlike fossil-fueled generation, solar energy resources are geographically distributed and highly intermittent, which makes their direct control difficult and requires storage units. The goal of this research is to develop a flexible capacity planning tool, which will allow us to obtain a most economical mixture of capacities from solar generation as well as storage while meeting reliability requirements against fluctuating demand and weather conditions. The tool is based on hybrid (system dynamics and agent-based models) simulation and meta-heuristic optimization. In particular, the proposed tool has been developed for scenarios, where photovoltaic generators and storage units (compressed-air-energy-storage and super-capacitors) are used to supply energy demands in a region characterized by different house-holds considering different times and seasons. The constructed tool has been used to test impact of several factors (e.g. demand growth, efficiencies in PV panel and storage techniques) on the total cost of the system. Initial results look quite promising.
Compressed-air energy storage (Ridge Energy Storage and Grid Services L.P, 2005)