Photovoltaic (PV) installation capacity is limited by the availability of backup generation from the centralized electrical grid. One method of increasing PV installation capacity is to install proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) systems at the PV generation site. PEMFC systems generate electricity and heat simultaneously, thereby utilizing fuel more efficiently. To study this concept, simulation was performed for a community-scale system consisting of 12 Canadian households - as opposed to single housing units-in order to decrease the fluctuation of the load and increase the modulation capacity of the PEMFC system. A power management strategy was developed to control the PEMFC power output in order to integrate with the PV system to supply the required electrical load. The power management strategy was implemented with a look-forward strategy using forecasted load, which took into account the modulation rate and the range of power output of the fuel cell system. The combined PV and PEMFC system simulation results demonstrated a reduction in the community's reliance on the electrical grid, as compared to a PV only system. The integration of technologies reduced the electrical imports from the central electrical grid into the community by 82.5%. Additionally, the use of both technologies in the community decreased the necessary backup generation capacity from the electrical grid by 24%. These results imply that the PEMFC technologies are able to replace some of the centralized power generation in backing up solar power intermittencies, thus, avoiding the installation of additional centralized power generation. The utilization of residential PEMFC systems can be used to back up solar intermittencies, allowing for increases in PV installation capacity.

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Keywords Aggregated residential load, Distribution generation (DG), Occupant behaviour, Photovoltaic (PV), Power management and control, Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), Renewable energy sources, Sustainable community
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Conference 6th International Building Physics Conference, IBPC 2015
Han, Y. (Yawen), Beausoleil-Morrison, I, & Wang, X. (2015). Increasing the installation capacity of PV with PEMFC backup within a residential community. In Energy Procedia (pp. 675–680). doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2015.11.060