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The feasibility of grid connected Solar Dish Stirling generators within the South West Interconnected System of Western Australia

O’Connor, August Sean (2010) The feasibility of grid connected Solar Dish Stirling generators within the South West Interconnected System of Western Australia. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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The feasibility of using Solar Dish Stirling (SDS) generators to supply renewable energy from distributed installations connected to the South West Interconnected System of Western Australia is assessed using solar resource models for seven sites within the region, and a financial model that calculates payback times and Levelised Cost of Electricity using a Net Present Value methodology for two quasi-commercial SDS systems.

An overview of SDS technology, addressing kinematic and free piston engine designs, maintenance requirements, hybrid operation, heat pipe receivers and system capital costs is presented.

The safety, environmental and social implications of SDS installations, including the potential impacts upon bird life, and the value of a supplementary income stream for rural stakeholders is explored, along with suitable sites for system installation, such as salt affected land.

Grid connection requirements within the SWIS network, including network capacity constraints, network protection, network performance and the structure of the wholesale electricity market, are discussed in the context of distributed SDS deployment. Analysis of the SWIS market data form 2006 to 2010 provides an average daytime balancing price or Marginal Cost Administered Price (MCAP) $0.08AUD/kWh, which is subsequently used in the financial modelling.

Financial modelling using a worksheet developed for this dissertation indicates system payback periods of between 13.4 and 19.2 years and a Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for Kalbarri of between $0.1184 and $0.3495 AUD/kWh, depending on factors that include the amount of direct solar radiation received, system output and efficiency, maintenance costs, export tariff, government subsidies, and exchange rate.

A series of sensitivity analyses, describing the effects on the results of changes in sunlight hours, export tariff and exchange rate, indicate the feasibility of the systems is most strongly influenced by variations in export tariff and sunlight hours.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Pryor, Trevor
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