Cost-Benefit Analysis of Microgenerators; An Integrated Appraisal Perspective

  • Hassan Harajli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The UK domestic building sector accounts for a substantial amount of the final energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To this extent, the sector can play an important role in GHG abatement and energy demand reduction, essential objectives of a more ‘sustainable energy system’. Microgeneration, or production of electricity or heat from small-scale sources, have been advocated by some, including the Supergen ‘Highly Distributed Power Systems Consortium’ to which this thesis contributes, as important means towards achieving these objectives. In this thesis, three assessed microgenerators; specifically a 600W microwind system, 2.1 kWp photovoltaic (PV) and building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems, and a 2.8m2 solar hot water (SHW) system have been analysed through an ‘integrated appraisal toolkit’ in order to assess their respective economic and financial performance in current UK context. A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is applied, based on outputs and results from energy analysis and life-cycle assessment (LCA), and other tools such as financial appraisal, cost-effective analysis (CEA), and simple multi-attribute ranking technique (SMART) are also performed in order to asses how these systems perform on an individual household level or when compared to other energy technologies. The CBA, which included environmental impacts quantified through the LCA, obtained negative net present values (NPVs) for all the assessed microgenerators with the exception of microwind in a high-wind resourced ‘open’ area with lower end capital costs. The NPVs in the financial appraisal, which excluded environmental impacts, yielded relatively poorer results still. Only with the proposed feed-in tariffs would the systems all achieve positive NPVs. Given that the CBA included a substantial qualitative part, alternative tools, such as CEA and multi-criteria evaluation were applied (in brief) in order to place the assessed systems in the context of other energy generating sources in the UK, and to enable a more confident decision with respect to whether these systems should be advocated or rejected.
Date of Award1 Oct 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAdrian Winnett (Supervisor)


  • microgeneration
  • life-cycle assessment
  • cost-benefit analysis

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