Authors:Miguel Angel Cuesta, Tony Castillo Calzadilla, Cruz Enrique Borges Hernández
The arrival of different renewable and storage technologies with increasingly lower costs is helping small communities to access affordable electricity through energy systems fed from heterogeneous generation sources. With the growing popularity of Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems (HRES), a novel kind of end-user software tools have also emerged to help planners optimize these energy installations. At the same time, there is a growing number of researches that warn about the need of considering not only economical, technical or environmental criteria when designing HRESs, but also social indicators like job creation or social acceptance. Consequently, the optimization of HRESs could also be improved by adding such new social parameters. We present hereby a review that assesses that the vast majority of the popular tools used by the planners to design HRESs do not consider social factors. The inclusion of social parameters within the optimization software is a real opportunity to boost these programs' features, covering additional capabilities to their users, especially to those which design systems are located in small communities. This research provides valuable information for developers of HRES optimization tools, delivering them, on the one hand, with insights about the advantages of the inclusion of social parameters during technology assessment and, on the other hand, contributing with a guide to help decide the best tool select the most pertinent tool, allowing designers to make the most of the sociodemographic structures and local renewable resources.
Impact factor: 10.550 (2019)