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The relatively high capital cost associated with micro wind energy systems and the resulting long payback periods, makes for a challenging argument for these technologies. However, as the global population becomes increasingly concentrated in urban areas, the potential for accessing any available renewable energy resource, including wind and solar PV, could become a necessity. This infers that the economics associated with small/micro energy systems need to be better appreciated. This paper presents a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) analysis for rural/urban small/micro wind energy systems that is contextualised by a solar PV system comparison. Further insight is offered through a design of experiments (DOE) consideration that affords an understanding of how system parameters, such as primary energy (rural/urban wind resource and solar insolation), capital cost and loan/finance interest rate individually and collectively affect the respective technologies. The results suggest that from an economic justification perspective, urban installations are difficult to justify and solar PV systems, with the associated lowering system costs, are challenging the viability of small/micro rural wind energy systems.
Sunderland, K., Narayana, M., Putrus, G. & Conlon, M. (2016). Levilised cost of energy analysis: a comparison of urban (micro) wind turbines and solar PV systems. UPEC 2016: 51st. International Universities Power Engineering Conference. doi:10.1109/UPEC.2016.8114097