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Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation

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Iraqis experience interruptions of the public electricity supply of up to 18 hours a day. In response, private entrepreneurs and the Local Provincial Councils (LPCs) have installed an estimated 55,000–80,000 diesel generators, each rated typically between 100 and 500 kVA. The generators supply neighbourhoods through small, isolated distribution networks to operate lighting, fans and small appliances when power is not available from the public supply. A single radial live conductor connects each customer to the generator and payment for the electricity is based on a monthly charge per ampere. The operation and regulation of the neighbourhood diesel generator networks was reviewed through a comprehensive literature survey, site visits and interviews conducted with local operators and assemblers of the generator sets. The electricity is expensive, the generators can only supply small loads, have considerable environmental impact and the unusual single wire distribution practice is potentially hazardous. However, the use of the generators is likely to continue in the absence of any alternative electricity supply. The diesels and networks are poorly regulated and there is scope to enforce existing standards and develop a new standard to address the hazards of the connection practice. The chapter goes on to assess the possibilities of using small photovoltaic systems for power generation in Iraq.
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Chapter
Local Energy Systems in Iraq:
Neighbourhood Diesel Generators
and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
AliAl-Wakeel
Abstract
Iraqis experience interruptions of the public electricity supply of up to 18hours
a day. In response, private entrepreneurs and the Local Provincial Councils (LPCs)
have installed an estimated 55,000–80,000 diesel generators, each rated typi-
cally between 100 and 500 kVA. The generators supply neighbourhoods through
small, isolated distribution networks to operate lighting, fans and small appliances
when power is not available from the public supply. A single radial live conductor
connects each customer to the generator and payment for the electricity is based
on a monthly charge per ampere. The operation and regulation of the neighbour-
hood diesel generator networks was reviewed through a comprehensive literature
survey, site visits and interviews conducted with local operators and assemblers
of the generator sets. The electricity is expensive, the generators can only supply
small loads, have considerable environmental impact and the unusual single wire
distribution practice is potentially hazardous. However, the use of the generators
is likely to continue in the absence of any alternative electricity supply. The diesels
and networks are poorly regulated and there is scope to enforce existing standards
and develop a new standard to address the hazards of the connection practice. The
chapter goes on to assess the possibilities of using small photovoltaic systems for
power generation in Iraq.
Keywords: diesel generator, informal electricity supply, neighbourhood diesel
generators, photovoltaic generation
. Introduction
Iraq has the 5th largest oil reserves in the world and exported, in October 2020,
some 2.88 million barrels of oil per day [1] down from an average of 3.97 million
barrels per day in 2019 [2]. The drop in oil exports comes in response to an agree-
ment between worldwide oil producers to cut production and revive the oil market
in response to the coronavirus global lockdowns and a collapsing demand for oil [3].
Iraq also has the world’s 11th largest reserves of natural gas [4]. However, following
four decades of war and international sanctions, the electricity supply system is
now in a poor condition and unable to supply the rapidly increasing demand for
electricity of a growing population [5].
The electricity infrastructure of Iraq was severely damaged during the First Gulf
War in 1991. The sanctions imposed by the United Nations during the early 1990s
further reduced electricity supply [6]. In 2003, following the Second Gulf War, the
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems
power generated fell from a pre-war value of 5300MW to 3500MW whereas the
peak demand at that time was estimated to be 6000MW [7]. Despite the rehabilita-
tion of old power plants and construction of new ones, an annual rate of increase
of electrical demand of more than 10% means there is now an estimated deficit of
generating capacity of more than 10,000MW [5].
After the Second Gulf War, the shortage of power led the Iraqi government to
encourage the use of neighbourhood diesel generators and novel local distribu-
tion networks. Exact details of the numbers of these generators are not available.
Reference [8] estimates there are 55,000–80,000 neighbourhood generators while
reference [9] reports that the actual number of these generators is between 90,000
– 150,000. These medium sized (100–500 kVA) diesel generators supply 90–95% of
households with about 20–30% of their electricity [5, 8]. This unusual community
response to electricity shortages by using medium-size diesel generators serv-
ing neighbourhoods through a novel distribution network and tariff system is in
contrast to some other oil-rich countries with poor public electrical infrastructure
where small generators serve only individual consumers.
Over the last three years, encouraged by the falling costs of photovoltaic (PV)
modules in international markets, the public have shown growing interest in install-
ing rooftop solar PV systems. These small-sized (1–10kW) systems are deployed to
help residents supplement the public electricity supply and reduce their electricity
bills by minimising their dependence upon expensive and polluting neighbourhood
generators [1012]. On the other hand, the Iraqi government has invited indepen-
dent power producers (IPPs) to develop seven utility-scale PV solar power sites
in the range between 30 and 300 MWp with a total power generation capacity of
755 MWp [13]. However, taking into consideration the recent dramatic drop in oil
prices, a large deficit in the federal budget and the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus,
it is thought to be unlikely that those utility-scale projects will become operational
(as planned) by end of 2021 [12, 14].
. Electricity supplies in Iraq
The Iraq public electricity system is divided into two networks, which have
very limited interconnection. The smaller network of around 7000MW of power
generation capacity (in 2019) is owned and operated by the Ministry of Electricity
in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq [15]. The larger network of around 27,300MW
of generation capacity, which is the focus of this study, covers Iraq Excluding
Kurdistan (IEK) and is owned and operated by the Federal Ministry of Electricity.
The capacity of power generation installed in Iraq (IEK) in 2018 is shown
in Table. It can be seen that the mean generation is considerably less than the
installed capacity in spite of the high demand for electricity, indicating power plant
is often unavailable. Generation is from gas and steam turbines with some hydro-
power. The large diesels listed in Table have capacities of up to 23MW and are
operated by the Federal Ministry of Electricity using heavy fuel oil.
Table lists the types of fuel used in central power plants in 2018. The steam
turbines are fuelled mainly by crude oil while most gas turbines are supplied by
natural gas. Some gas turbines have been modified to burn crude oil, but these
are then de-rated from a nameplate capacity of 2878MW to a mean generation of
1178MW.
The Iraqi transmission networks (400kV in IEK only and 132kV throughout
Iraq) connect the central power plants with load centres [17]. Distribution networks
use 33kV and 11kV to distribute the power supplied by the transmission network
between primary and secondary substations and 0.4/0.23kV to supply end-users
Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
with electricity. Distribution networks in Iraq are unreliable due to unplanned
network growth, shortage of spare parts and lack of maintenance. The absence of
effective metering and billing leads to widespread under-collection of revenues
[8]. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) [5], the aggregate techni-
cal and non-technical losses in transmission and distribution networks in IEK are
between 50 and 60% of the total electrical energy generated and imported, and are
among the highest in the world.
Power generation
technology
All units Operating units
Nameplate capacity
(MW)
Mean generation
(MW)
Generation capacity factor
Steam turbines 7305 3270 ~ 0.448
Gas turbines 15,857 5521 ~ 0.348
Large diesels 2327 376 ~ 0.162
Hydroelectric turbines 1864 208 ~ 0.112
IPPs and Imports 3627
Total , , .
Table 1.
Nameplate and available capacities of IEK power generation in 2018 [16].
Power generation
technology
 of total fuel burnt in generation plants
Crude oil Heavy fuel oil Light diesel Gas oil Natural gas
Steam turbines 75% 12.8% ~ 0% ~ 0% 12.2%
Gas turbines 20.3% 11.4% 2.2% 3.8% 62.3%
Large Diesels 0% 96.6% 0% 3.4% 0%
Table 2.
Type of fuel burnt in IEK central power plants in 2018 [16].
Figure 1.
Source and hours of electricity supplied to residential customers in Iraq, 2011 (Source: [18]).
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems
Figure 2.
Locally assembled neighbourhood generator (Source: Author).
The Federal Ministry of Electricity estimated the mean power demand in
2018 to be 22,530MW but the mean power dispatched to supply this demand was
12,109MW [16]. For the same year, the IEA estimated the summer peak demand was
about 27,000MW and the unmet demand to be 10,500MW [5]. The lack of electric-
ity leads to severe hardship in a country where daytime temperatures in summer
regularly exceed 45°C and has prompted most households and small businesses
to rely on electricity from neighbourhood diesel generators. The source and hours
of electricity supplied to residential customers in 2011 are shown in Figure . This
shows that, even at that time, most households supplemented their electricity supply
from the public network with a connection to the neighbourhood diesel generators
or by using small individual household gasoline generators (or both). This practice
of supplementing the public supply remains common. In summer 2020, electricity
consumers in IEK received an average of 14–16hours of electricity per day, with only
6–8hours provided by the public network [19, 20].
. Neighbourhood diesel generators in Iraq
In response to this power deficit, private entrepreneurs and the Local Provincial
Councils (LPCs) have been encouraged by the government to install medium-sized
diesel generators at a neighbourhood level to supplement grid supply and alleviate
some power shortages particularly in the peak summer months. These generators
are owned and operated either by independent entrepreneurs or by the LPCs. In
Baghdad, around 18% of more than 13,000 neighbourhood generators are owned
and operated by the LPCs [21]. The generating sets are usually assembled locally
from reused truck diesel engines coupled to imported generators, as shown in
Figure . An assembly line of a local assembler of generating sets is shown in
Figure . The control panels are manufactured locally using imported components.
The price of a locally assembled 250 kVA generating set is between $8500–10,000
compared to the cost of a UK made imported 220 kVA unit of $18,000 – 19,000.
Larger generating sets with capacities up to 2500 kVA are imported as complete
units and operated by the LPCs.
The Federal Ministry of Electricity and the LPCs regulate the installation
and connection of neighbourhood diesel generators. The ‘Regulations of Power
Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
Supply to End Customers’ of the Federal Ministry of Electricity [22] requires that
neighbourhood diesels are electrically isolated from the public network. Electrical
protection must be installed to ensure no current can flow from a generator into the
public network. The Federal Ministry of Electricity records the numbers and sites
of neighbourhood diesels and they cannot be relocated without obtaining permis-
sion from the Ministry and the LPCs. Apart from the technical details given in the
‘Regulations of Power Supply to End Customers’ and health and safety regulations,
all other communications provided by the LPCs and Ministry of Electricity are
guidelines only.
The LPCs provide the sites for the neighbourhood diesels, which are typically
located on roadside and mid-road pavements, in public parks and near local mar-
kets [23]. Figure  shows an example of a neighbourhood generator installation in
urban Baghdad. Also, the LPCs define the tariffs used to charge customers and the
number of hours that the neighbourhood diesels operate, but these vary between
different provinces. Several campaigns by non-governmental organisations and
the general public have called for clarification and enforcement of the policies and
regulations for operating neighbourhood diesels.
The Ministry of Oil provides the fuel necessary to operate the neighbourhood
diesels. The Ministry of Oil defines the amounts of fuel to be supplied, according to
the power available from central power plants and anticipated customer electricity
demand (Table ). Between 2003 and 2017, fuel was provided initially free-of-
charge and later at subsidised rates. After 2017, the diesel fuel was sold to entrepre-
neurs and LPCs at the regular retail price of 34 US cents per litre (Table).
Most residential premises in Iraq pay two monthly electricity bills, the first to
the Federal Ministry of Electricity and the second to the operator of their local
Figure 3.
Assembly line of a local manufacturer of neighbourhood diesel generators (Source: Local assembler).
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems
neighbourhood diesel. Electricity from the public network is charged by energy
($/kWh) while the neighbourhood diesels sell electricity based on the maximum
current the customer has chosen ($/Amp).
Table shows the domestic tariffs charged by the Federal Ministry of Electricity
for different levels of energy consumption. It has been recognised by the World
Bank and the International Energy Agency that these very low tariffs do not pro-
mote efficient and rational use of electricity and combined with poor billing and
collection, they result in very low cost recovery ratios (approximately 10%) and the
electricity sector operating at a loss [5, 25].
The monthly tariffs charged by the neighbourhood diesels are divided into two
types (Table). The standard tariffs of restricted hours are defined by the LPCs and
apply to all generators while the premium service that provide 24-hour electricity is
offered only by the private entrepreneurs. For the premium service, the entrepreneurs
buy additional fuel from the Ministry of Oil at approximately 59 US cents per litre [27].
Months Amount of fuel (litre/kVA)
Summer: May, June, July, August, September 20–35
Spring: March, April 10–15
Autumn: October, November 10–15
Winter: December, January, February 5–10
Table 3.
Amount of fuel per month supplied by the Ministry of Oil to neighbourhood diesels [24].
Figure 4.
Neighbourhood diesel generator installed on a mid-road pavement in Baghdad (Source: Author).
Customer type Energy consumed (kWh) per month Tariff (US ȼ/kWh)
Residential 1–1500 0.83
1501–3000 2.92
3001–4000 6.67
over 4001 10.00
All costs in this chapter have been converted from Iraqi dinars to US dollars at a rate of :.
Table 4.
Electrical energy tariffs charged by the Federal Ministry of Electricity in September 2020 [26].
Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
There is a considerable difference in the price paid for electricity from the
public network and the neighbourhood generators. Table  shows the approximate
monthly energy consumption and bills for electricity of a typical residential cus-
tomer in IEK. The calculation assumes a 24/7 supply of electricity from the public
grid with an assumed set of appliances in a typical dwelling. The electrical load is
that assumed by the Federal Ministry of Electricity to estimate the consumption of
households that are without a functioning meter [22]. An on-line calculator using
these assumptions has recently been published by the Ministry of Electricity to
help customers estimate their consumption and calculate their bills [28]. Table
contrasts this cost with the charge for a neighbourhood diesel to supply only the
essential loads of lighting, fans, evaporative air coolers, white goods and home
entertainment systems. It can be seen that the neighbourhood diesels provide a
much more expensive service to fewer appliances for reduced hours.
. Connection of neighbourhood diesels
The circuits used for connecting the neighbourhood diesels are unusual and
Figure  shows how the neighbourhood diesel generators are connected using radial
private wire distribution circuits of single 2.5mm2 or 6mm2 copper conductors.
Single conductors connect a live phase of the neighbourhood diesels to individual
Summer Spring & autumn Winter Fuel cost to
operators
(US ȼ/litre)
Standard Tariffs (US /Amp) 10 7. 5 534
Hours of operation per day 10 3–10
Premium Tariffs (US/Amp) 21 12.5 59
Hours of operation per day 24
Table 5.
Approximate monthly tariffs of the private neighbourhood diesel generators.
Public network Neighbourhood diesel generators
Approximate monthly Number
of amps
chosen
(Amp)
Approximate monthly
bill (US )
Season
(months)
Energy
consumption
(kWh)
Bill (US ) Standard
tariff
Premium
tariff
May, June,
July, Aug ust,
September
1740 1 9.5 770 147
March, April 780 6.5 53 7. 5 62.5
October,
November
December,
January,
Febr uary
1245 10.4 25
Annual 154.7 575 1172.5
Table 6.
Approximate monthly energy consumption and bills of a typical residential customer.
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems
Figure 5.
Simplified diagram of neighbourhood generator connections.
Figure 6.
A miniature circuit breaker board of a neighbourhood diesel generator (Source: Author).
Figure 7.
Informal distribution circuits using redundant utility support insulators (Source: Author).
Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
customer premises. The neutral of the generator is permanently connected to the
neutral conductor of the public network. A changeover switch, either automatic or
manual, is installed at the customer premises for transfer of the live phase from the
public network to the neighbourhood generator when a power outage occurs. There
are no clear, enforced regulations for neutral earthing (grounding) but a common
practice is not to earth the generator neutral but rely on the earth of the neutral of
the 11/0.4kV distribution transformer.
This unusual neutral connection practice would contravene safety regulations
in many countries. There is no means of detecting if the connection between the
generator and transformer neutral is lost and, in this condition, ill-defined “floating
voltages” will appear at consumers premises. If the single-phase wire to a dwelling is
broken, then again there is no means of detecting this and a hazardous voltage may
result. There is considerable anecdotal evidence of fires being caused by faults on
these circuits and electrocution of members of the public [29–31].
Miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) in a distribution board at the generator
limit the electrical current drawn by each customer. The current ratings of the
MCBs are used to determine the monthly charge and also provide overcurrent
protection. Most customers buy less than 10 amperes to supply only their essential
loads. Figure  shows an MCB distribution board supplying around 100 dwellings
installed at a neighbourhood diesel generator in Baghdad.
Figure  shows informal distribution circuits supplying power from a neighbour-
hood diesel in Baghdad. In IEK, it is common for individual final circuits to radiate
directly from the generator distribution board to each consumer. Problems of the
distribution circuits include loose or disconnected wiring, short circuits, mal-operat-
ing changeover switches and sustained high voltages caused by poor neutral earthing.
. Operation of neighbourhood diesels
Neither the generators nor private wire distribution networks are regulated
by the Federal Ministry of Electricity and the agreements between the generator
operators and customers are verbal [32]. Customers sometimes experience poor
power quality with voltage and frequency falling below their rated values of 230
volts and 50Hz when the operators reduce the running speed of their engines to
save fuel. It is also known for operators to overcharge their customers [5]. The
disposal of engine lubricants in public sewage systems has been reported [33] while
poor handling procedures of fuel and non-compliance with electrical safety regula-
tions have been identified as causes of fires [23, 34, 35].
. Noise
It is widely recognised that neighbourhood diesel generators can create a signifi-
cant noise nuisance [8, 23, 36] especially when their enclosures and canopies are
removed to increase cooling (Figure ).
According to the Iraq ‘Law of Noise Control’ of 2015 [37], the noise limits in
residential areas are Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) between 55 and 60 dBA during
the day and 45–50 dBA at night, depending on the source of the noise (e.g. local
crafts and industrial workshops). There are no specific limits for the noise produced
by neighbourhood diesel generators. In November 2019, the LPC in Erbil (Kurdistan
Region of Iraq) issued new regulations requiring that, from May 2020, all neigh-
bourhood diesels should be fitted with soundproofing systems. Non-compliant
owners of the neighbourhood diesels face fines of approximately US $ 1670 and
their licences being suspended [23, 38].
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

The results of national studies of noise from neighbourhood diesels are shown in
Table.
In [39], the SPLs of diesel generators with and without enclosures were mea-
sured at 1.1–1.2 metre from the ground. In [40] and [41], the SPLs of neighbour-
hood diesels installed in the cities of Duhok and Erbil were measured at various
distances from the diesel generator. In [42], the SPLs produced by 250 kVA neigh-
bourhood diesels were measured to investigate the impacts of noise pollution in the
city of Mosul using geographic information systems (GIS).
Using the data from the references in Table and a simple hemi-spherical
propagation model [43], Sound Power Levels for the generating sets were estimated
of between 103 and 121 dBA without enclosures and about 91 dBA with an enclosure.
. Emissions of CO, SO, NOx, HS and total suspended particles (TSP)
The location of the neighbourhood diesel generators in residential areas leads
to particular concerns over local air pollution. A ‘Draft Iraqi Standard’ [44] defines
limits on the exhaust emissions from diesel generators but the common practice of
mixing the diesel or gas oil fuel with heavy oil, and poor maintenance of the engines
increase the level of emissions [23, 45, 46].
Table shows emissions measured in local studies. The allowable emissions
from small diesel generators are shown on the top line of Table with measured
Figure 8.
Neighbourhood diesel generator with enclosures removed showing exposed fan (Source: Author).
Reference Minimum SPL (dBA)
at distance (m)
Maximum SPL (dBA)
at distance (m)
Notes
[39]63.1 dBA at 10m with
enclosure
89.2 dBA at 10m
without enclosure
Size of the generator sets not
provided
[40]74.86 dBA at 50m 98.91 dBA at 5m State of the enclosure not available
[41]69 dBA at 15m 103 dBA at 1m Neither the number, rating nor the
state of the enclosure available
[42]63–65 dBA at 50m 105–109 dBA at the
generator site
The number of 250 kVA generator
sets is not available. All units are
without enclosures
Table 7.
Measurements of noise from neighbourhood diesels.

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
values shown on the lower 3 lines. Reference [39] records the concentrations of air
pollutants from diesel generators measured between August and November 2012.
Higher wind speeds in autumn spread the pollutants and reduces their concentra-
tion. Alrawi and Hazim [47] show the maximum concentrations of CO, SO2 and
H2S pollutants emitted from new and old 150, 250 and 500 kVA generators located
in Baghdad. Najib [48] measured the emissions from diesel generators installed at
Al-Qadisiya University. In all cases the measured emissions exceeded those speci-
fied in the draft standard.
. Neighbourhood diesels in Kurdistan and other countries
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in June 2020 consumers received an
average of 16hours per day of electricity from the public grid [49]. Neighbourhood
diesels, however, remain common with at least 5500 generators registered and
operating in the region [50–52]. Connection practice differs from elsewhere in Iraq
with local distribution boards mounted on utility distribution poles from which the
final connections radiate to customer premises. The boards are supplied using single
conductor mains of 50–95mm2 copper conductor. The neutral wire connection
practice (employing the neutral wire of the public grid) is similar to the practice
seen in other Iraqi cities. The tariffs of the neighbourhood diesels in KRI are defined
in ($/Amp) for neighbourhoods that have a connection to the public distribution
grid. However, the tariffs are defined in ($/kWh) for the diesel generators supply-
ing newly built residential housing complexes which are not connected to the public
distribution grid [53, 54].
In Lebanon, neighbourhood diesels (known as ishtirak orsubscription’ [55])
have been common since the early days of the civil war of 1975–1990. In 2018,
Reference CO NOxSOHSTSP
[44, 47, 48]Maximum permitted
hourly concentrations of
pollutants emitted from
diesel generators according
to the Draft Iraqi Standard
(ppm)
. . . .
[39]Month of

August 4.25 5.98 3.40 Not
measured
0.48
September 3.50 4.60 3.15 0.42
October 2.95 3.90 2.44 0.32
November 2.66 2.85 2.75 0.23
[47]Diesel
generator
rating
(kVA)
 1.62–2.23 0.70 0.80–1.30 0.60–1.10 Not
measured
 2.10–2.60 0.60–0.80 0.90–1.30 0.50–1.00
 2.10 0.50 1.20 0.60
 3.00 0.70 1.50 1.00
 2.90–3.40 0.80–0.90 1.80–2.40 1.60–2.50
 3.10 0.90 2.10 2.10
[48]College of Physical
Education / Al-Qadisiya
University
2.80 Not
measured
0.65 0.009 Not
measured
Table 8.
Concentrations of pollutants emitted from different neighbourhood diesels in ppm.
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

these generators, described by the World Bank Group as ‘illegal and informal’, were
used to supplement customers with 8.1 TWh of power amounting to about 37%
of the total power demand in Lebanon [56]. In Beirut, which has a daily supply
of about 21hours of electricity from the public distribution grid, neighbourhood
diesels make up the 24-hour supply. In other cities of Lebanon which receive less
than 12hours of public grid electricity each day, the neighbourhood diesels supply
customers with electricity for up to 6–8hours per day [5760].
The World Bank Group and the American University of Beirut [61] report that
ratings of neighbourhood diesels in Lebanon are typically below 500 kVA, similar to
Iraq. The connection practice of the neighbourhood diesels employing the neutral
wire of the public distribution grid is the same [58]. Also, the contracts between
the private entrepreneurs and the customers are verbal. Connection practice of the
neighbourhood diesels in Lebanon is to use fuse boxes (or local distribution boards)
mounted on subscribing buildings rather than on poles of the public distribution
grid [57, 58]. Prior to October 2018 some customers only had MCBs while others had
both MCBs and energy meters. Nowadays, all Lebanese customers (old and new)
are required to have MCBs (to limit the maximum current) and energy meters (for
tariff charging). There is also a standing charge defined by the current rating of a
customer’s MCB [62].
In Syria, neighbourhood diesels (locally called ‘ampere or subscription’ genera-
tors [63]) supply customers with electricity due to the damage sustained by the
public grid during the civil war [64]. These generators were initially employed
in regions controlled by the Syrian rebels to supply customers with no more than
10hours of electricity per day [63]. The practice was later adopted in regions
controlled by the Syrian Government [65, 66]. The topology of the private wire
networks of the neighbourhood diesels in Syria is similar to KRI and Lebanon with
thick single live conductors supplying local distribution boards mounted on public
distribution poles or subscribing buildings. The use of the public network neutral
wires is similar in Iraq, KRI and Lebanon [67]. The customers in Syria are not
equipped with energy meters. The tariffs of the neighbourhood diesels, regulated
by the LPCs in Syrian cities, are defined in ($/Amp).
. Current status of rooftop solar PV systems in Iraq
Iraq, located between latitude 29°.98 and 37°.15, has a high potential of solar
energy with a mean global PV potential of approximately 4.7 kWh/kWp, global
horizontal irradiation (GHI) of 5.5 kWh/m2 and an average of 3250 of hours of
sunshine per year in Baghdad [68, 69] (Figures  and ).
However, the utilisation of solar energy for electric power generation did not
receive attention until 2019 when the Iraqi government (with the aid of inter-
national organisations) became more active in formulating a solar policy for the
country [12]. Licences have been awarded for private companies to install residen-
tial solar power systems [71], technical specifications for these solar systems have
been defined [72], and investors (local, international and IPPs) have been invited to
construct grid scale solar plants [13] and pilot rooftop residential solar systems [73].
. Specifications of rooftop solar systems
The technical specifications of rooftop solar PV systems issued by the Federal
Ministry of Electricity imply that when the systems are financed by soft loans, they
must be hybrid systems. Hybrid solar systems (Figure ) combine the functions of
solar panels, inverter, maximum power point tracker (MPPT), battery charger and

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
Figure 9.
PV power potential (PVOUT) in Iraq [70].
Figure 10.
Global horizontal irradiation (GHI) in Iraq [70].
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

battery pack to ensure that power supplied to the load is uninterrupted. A hybrid
solar system can be operated as an on-grid system with battery storage or as an off-
grid system with backup power from the grid. Power is never exported to the grid
deliberately.
Taking into consideration the nature of loads and the power generation capacity
(1–10kW) of hybrid solar PV systems (recommended by the Federal Ministry of
Electricity and commonly deployed in Iraq), the operation modes of these systems
are summarised in Figures . It is assumed that the priority of a hybrid solar
inverter/charger is to feed the essential load first and to charge the battery bank
only if sufficient power is generated by the PV panels.
Besides hybrid solar PV systems, entirely on– or off–grid rooftop solar systems
have been deployed in limited numbers in Iraq. On–grid systems, which are similar
to hybrid systems except that they do not have battery banks, have been installed at
a number of governmental buildings including the Federal Ministry of Electricity
(an aggregate of 350kW at two different sites), University of Babylon (with a
130kW capacity) [74] and University of Technology [75].
In contrast, off–grid systems include battery banks, but are not connected to
the LV distribution grid. Off–grid systems are used for rural agricultural (irrigation
Figure 11.
Hybrid solar PV system.

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
Figure 12.
Off-grid mode: PV power is not available. The essential load is fully supplied by the batteries.
Figure 13.
Off-grid mode: PV power is not sufficient to supply the essential load which will therefore be supplied by both
PV panels and batteries.
Figure 14.
Off-grid mode: PV power is sufficient to supply the essential load and charge the batteries.
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

and drainage) applications and have also been employed for experimental studies.
Figure  shows an experimental off–grid system rooftop solar system installed at a
residential premise in Baghdad.
A detailed illustration of the system is shown in Figure . Block (1) is the
infeed cable collecting the outputs of the solar panels shown in Figure . Block (2)
Figure 15.
On-grid mode: PV power is not sufficient to fully supply the essential load and the batteries are not connected
(e.g. removed for maintenance or replacement). The essential load is supplied by both PV panels and LV grid.
Figure 16.
On-grid mode: PV power is neither sufficient to supply essential load nor charge the batteries. LV grid supplies
power to the essential load and charges the battery bank.

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
Figure 17.
On-grid mode: PV power is not sufficient to fully supply the essential load but is sufficient to charge the
batteries. The essential load is supplied by both PV panels and LV grid.
Figure 18.
A rooftop array of solar panels in Baghdad (Source: Dr. Jaafar Ali Kadhum Al-Anbari).
Figure 19.
Detailed illustration of a 10kW experimental rooftop off-grid solar system in Baghdad (Source: Dr. Jaafar Ali
Kadhum Al-Anbari).
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

is a 10kW inverter that converts 48 volts DC to 220 volts AC to supply the essential
load of the residential premise. Block (3) is an MPPT charge controller while block
(4) shows the cooling system installed to cool the inverter (block (2)). Finally,
block (5) is a 48 volts battery bank comprising 54 lead acid batteries (of different
capacities) connected to produce an aggregated capacity of 1500Ah.
. Rooftop solar panel systems as a sustainable source of power for Iraqi
residences
Solar energy, if actively exploited, has an important role in improving Iraq’s
energy security and could help fill the gap between the available electrical power
supply and demand without using traditional power generation technologies or
neighbourhood diesel generators. Oil and gas consumed for power generation can
be saved which in turn allows more oil exports that will add to the government
revenues [12].
A pilot project comprising six rooftop solar PV systems (each having a capacity
of 5kW) in Najaf [76] was able, over four years, to save a total of 58 tonnes of CO2
(equivalent of consuming more than 7000 gallons of diesel) from being emitted
into the atmosphere [77]. Reference [78] reports that the potential savings in CO2
emissions would amount to approximately 804 gCO2/kWh should a 315kW solar
power plant be constructed at Sulaymaniyah airport to replace fossil fuel based
electric energy supplying the airport.
A comparison between the present levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from
open-cycle gas turbines (OCGT), combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT), neigh-
bourhood diesel generators and solar panels (Table ) shows that rooftop solar
PV systems offer a competitive alternative to neighbourhood diesel generators.
In Table, residential rooftop solar systems have a maximum power generation
capacity of 15kW, commercial rooftop systems can generate up to 500kW whereas
utility-scale systems are multi-megawatt solar farms [79].
In Iraq, the installation cost of rooftop solar systems can either be paid as a
one-off payment or over 36–60months with a long-term loan. A 5kW hybrid solar
system costs between US $ 3800–4800 with a one-off payment whereas the cost of
the same system increases to about US $ 6450 (over 36 instalments) – 6860 (over 60
instalments) on a long-term loan [80]. The variation in costs depends upon both the
number of solar panels and batteries connected. A replacement lead acid battery is
usually required every two years, at a cost of US $ 210–280 per 200Ah battery.
Comparing the installation and battery replacement costs with the approxi-
mate electricity bill of a residential customer (Table), it can be concluded that a
hybrid rooftop solar system is expensive and may not deliver the financial savings
anticipated over its lifetime of 20–25years. Similar findings were reported in [51]
Power generation technology LCOE (US /kWh) Reference
OCGT 0.04–0.06 [5, 12]
CCGT 0.07–0.11
Neighbourhood diesel 0.64–1.30
Solar PV Utility-scale 0.018–0.085 [5, 11, 12, 79]
Commercial rooftop 0.062–0.064 [79]
Residential rooftop 0.063–0.265
Table 9.
Comparison between LCOE of solar PV and fossil fuel based power generation technologies.

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
recommending the installation of rooftop off-grid solar systems only when an annual
discount rate of below 9.4% was assumed for the battery bank. Analysis of different
scenarios showed that investment in rooftop solar systems would not be cost effective
at high battery discount rates. Alternatively, reference [12] recommends exploring
community solar microgrids rather than installations on each house.
In summary, it can be seen that numbers of rooftop solar system installations in
Iraq are increasing; however, these will probably not reach a tipping point to replace
neighbourhood diesel generators for some time. The public are often reluctant to
install rooftop solar systems because of their high upfront and maintenance costs espe-
cially with the current unstable economic conditions in the aftermath of the coronavi-
rus outbreak and worldwide drop in oil prices. The lack of government support for soft
loan mechanisms as well as high commercial interest rates (more than 40%) for loans
to fund domestic solar systems are other factors that discourage widespread installa-
tions of solar systems. Also, the customers are reluctant to invest in solar PV systems
because present Iraqi legislations do not support net-metering or feed-in tariffs [12].
There is some evidence that the reducing cost of photovoltaic panels may offer a
partial solution to this problem of deficit of generation. Iraq has an extremely attrac-
tive solar resource but so far implementation of photovoltaic generation has been
limited. For widespread adoption of rooftop systems, a more attractive commercial
climate is required, through low interest loans, net metering or feed-in tariffs.
. Conclusions
The electricity systems of Iraq, and parts of Lebanon and Syria, experience
frequent power cuts caused by shortage of generation, damaged transmission
and distribution networks as well as rapidly increasing demand. In response to
the limited hours that electricity is available from the public supply systems, local
organisations have established innovative arrangements using diesel generators and
simple distribution networks. These systems operate independently and are man-
aged separately from the public electricity supply.
The generators are typically in the range of 100–500 kVA and are often locally
manufactured from reused truck engines and imported generators. The generators
provide each subscribing consumer with a supplementary supply of up to several
kW of electrical power through informal networks that extend over a small area
of a town or city. The final connection to the consumer premises is made through
a radial single wire and the neutral of the public LV network. There is no connec-
tion of the live conductors from the generators with the public network and each
customer has a changeover switch to select either the public mains when supply
is available or the neighbourhood diesel. Monthly tariffs are based on $/amp with
miniature circuit breakers limiting the current drawn by each consumer.
Neighbourhood diesels create significant local air pollution and noise, and can
only supply small amounts of power at considerable cost. However, for those areas
that have only limited public electricity supply they provide some power when the
public service is unavailable. In Iraq, electricity from the public network is sold to
domestic customers at a price that is below the cost of supply so limiting revenue
that could be used to increase the capacity of the public supply system. There is no
immediate prospect of the public electricity supply in Iraq improving dramatically
and of these neighbourhood generators becoming redundant. Until the public
electricity supply system can fully meet the load demand, the use of neighbourhood
diesels is likely to continue.
Suitable Iraqi standards exist, some in draft form, to regulate the noise and
gaseous emissions from neighbourhood diesels but local studies indicate these
Microgrids and Local Energy Systems

Author details
AliAl-Wakeel
Cardiff University, Cardiff, UnitedKingdom
*Address all correspondence to: al-wakeelas@cardiff.ac.uk
standards are not being met. No standards to regulate the novel connection practice
of using a common neutral connection from the public network were identified.
There appears to be scope both to enforce existing standards and develop a new
electrical standard to regulate the connection and operation of the diesel generators
and the innovative networks.
Acknowledgements
The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the FLEXIS project in the
School of Engineering, Cardiff University. FLEXIS is part-funded by the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Welsh Government. Ariennir
yn rhannol gan Gronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop drwy Lywodraeth Cymru.
The author also acknowledges the assistance of Dr. Jaafar Ali Kadhum Al-Anbari
providing the details and photos of an experimental 10kW off-grid residential solar
power system.
© 2020 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. Distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction for
non-commercial purposes, provided the original is properly cited.

Local Energy Systems in Iraq: Neighbourhood Diesel Generators and Solar Photovoltaic Generation
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.95280
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Article
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Thesis
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