Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Instituto de energía solar

R&D at IES

Reliability in large rural electrification programmes


Although the grid-connected PV system market has eclipsed the traditional PV rural electrification one, this market continues existing with significant business in absolute terms. It has evolved and now rural PV electrification programmes include, not only the installation phase but also the operation and maintenance during, typically, ten years. This open questions like which is the actual reliability of PV components and PV systems as a whole; which is the actual cost of maintenance during such a long periods; which are the key points in the management of this kind of programs to make them profitable;…

Our research group, taking advantage of its long experience in this area (our group was born researching with PV minigrids and Solar Home Systems in 1984!), is producing results that clarify these questions based on real data from operational PV rural electrification programs. Some of these results are very surprising, like the real cost of maintenance compared with the tariffs received by the ESCOs for this service. Most of these results can be found in the publications listed below. 

Special work is being devoted to the elaboration of ad-hoc technical specifications and to the design of specific components specially oriented to assure the reliability.


Contact person: Dr. Luis Narvarte

Selected publications

  1. A. Gago Calderón, L. Narvarte, L. M. Carrasco, and J. Serón, "LED bulbs technical specification and testing procedure for solar home systems”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 41, pp. 506-520, 2015. (DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2014.08.057)

  2. L. M. Carrasco, L. Narvarte, A. Peral, and M. Vázquez, "Reliability of a 13 000-SHS photovoltaic rural electrification programme”, Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, vol. 21, pp. 1136-1145, 2013. (DOI: 10.1002/pip.2218)

  3. L. M. Carrasco, L. Narvarte, and E. Lorenzo, "Operational costs of a 13,000 solar home systems rural electrification programme”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 20, pp. 1-7, 2013. (DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2012.11.073)

  4. E. Lorenzo and L. Narvarte, "On the usefulness of stand-alone PV sizing methods”, Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, vol. 8, pp. 391-409, 2000. (DOI: 10.1002/1099-159X(200007/08)8:4<391::AID-PIP319>3.0.CO;2-Z)



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