Smart Rural Electrification

More than a billion people still lack clean and safe electricity in rural regions throughout the world [1]. Electrification in developing countries has majorly targeted urban areas, leaving rural populations aside [2]. This lead to national and international initiatives, projects and programs to promote, install or operate small-scale energy systems, powered by renewable energy systems [3].

The scientific community was also an important participant in this rural electrification effort [3, 4]. Contributions range from methods for modelling local renewable energy resources [5], deployment of local micro-grids [6] to the development of energy management strategies [4].

Despite all these scientific contributions, sustainable rural electrification still requires:

  • Versatile power solutions: Renewable management systems are based on power electronics converters built for specific purposes. A new configuration requires a new specific converter [4]. A versatile power solution, flexible enough to adapt to specific situations is required.
  • Reconfigurable control architectures: Renewable-energy-control architectures can be centralized, distributed or hybrid [4]. The architecture is decided during the sizing of the system. Systems that have the ability to change from one architecture to another are required to build solutions that can evolve over time.
  • Highly Robust and Maintainable systems: Renewable energy based small-scale energy systems are much cheaper than extending the grid as long as they are robust and their maintenance is taken into account [7]. 

This research line seeks to answer to these needs. 


More details to come ... 



[1] IEA. World Energy Outlook 2012. Paris CEDEX: OECD Publishing 2012

[2] Stefano Mandelli, Jacopo Barbieri, Riccardo Mereu, Emanuela Colombo, Off-grid systems for rural electrification in developing countries: Definitions, classification and a comprehensive literature review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 58, May 2016, Pages 1621-1646

[3] R.K. Akikur, R. Saidur, H.W. Ping, K.R. Ullah, Comparative study of stand-alone and hybrid solar energy systems suitable for off-grid rural electrification: A review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 27, November 2013, Pages 738-752, ISSN 1364-0321,

[4] Lanre Olatomiwa, Saad Mekhilef, M.S. Ismail, M. Moghavvemi, Energy management strategies in hybrid renewable energy systems: A review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 62, September 2016, Pages 821-835, ISSN 1364-0321

[5] Prabodh Bajpai, Vaishalee Dash, Hybrid renewable energy systems for power generation in stand-alone applications: A review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 16, Issue 5, June 2012, Pages 2926-2939

[6] Diana Neves, Carlos A. Silva, Stephen Connors, Design and implementation of hybrid renewable energy systems on micro-communities: A review on case studies, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 31, March 2014, Pages 935-946

[7] Tania Urmee, David Harries, August Schlapfer, Issues related to rural electrification using renewable energy in developing countries of Asia and Pacific, Renewable Energy, Volume 34, Issue 2, February 2009