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Adewale et al.

, Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658


Energy audit and optimal power supply for a
commercial building in Nigeria
Adeyinka Ajao Adewale1*, Aderibigbe Israel Adekitan1, Ofukowoicho Jeremiah Idoko1,
Felix Ayoade Agbetuyi1 and Isaac Adekunle Samuel1
Received: 07 June 2018
Accepted: 07 November 2018 Abstract: Energy is indispensable to human existence, and its need is on the
First Published: 12 November 2018
increase daily due to technological advancement. In recent times, there is sporadic
*Corresponding author: Adeyinka increase in the development of modern buildings, and these buildings require a
Ajao Adewale Electrical &
Information Engineering cost-effective and sustainable source of energy. Nigeria and some other African
Department, Covenant University,
countries have major energy shortage issues due to the insufficient power genera-
E-mail: ade.adewale@covenantuni- tion and distribution facilities. This energy poverty creates a challenge for the
growing population, and as such, it is vital to ensure that the energy supplied to a
Reviewing editor:
Qingsong Ai, Wuhan University of
building is duly optimized and delivered cost effectively. In this study, an energy
Technology, China audit of an eight-floor multipurpose business complex was performed to determine
Additional information is available at the nature and type of loads within the building. Based on the load profile and
the end of the article
energy consumption over a 10-year period, three alternative energy sources
(national grid, diesel generator and photovoltaic [PV] system) were considered
using various load-sharing ratios. The result reveals that though PV solar system is a
renewable energy source that reduces the production of greenhouse gases gener-
ated by burning diesel, its continuous application in low–middle-income country like
Nigeria may be challenged by the initial start-up capital which raises the cost of its
unit energy.


Adeyinka A. Adewale is a registered electrical World cities are filled with modern buildings and
engineer in Nigeria. He had both his BSc and MSc skyscrapers with a lot of electrical energy
degrees from the University of Lagos in 1998 and demands. Increased energy generation through
2004, respectively, and a PhD degree in non-renewable means increases the production
Information and Communication Engineering in of greenhouse gases that cause global warming,
2017 from the Department of Electrical and and this makes it vital to ensure that energy is
Information Engineering, Covenant University, supplied cheaply to buildings and efficiently
Ota. He had worked in the industry as an electri- optimized particularly in developing countries
cal/electronics engineer and had handled pro- where energy is in short supply. In this study, the
jects on electrical installations and computer cost implication of combining three alternative
networking and as an electronics engineer/ sources of supply (national grid, diesel generator
observer in the seismic industry. At present, he is and photovoltaic [PV] system) to power an eight-
a lecturer and researcher at the Department of floor commercial building in Nigeria is considered
Adeyinka Ajao Adewale Electrical and Information Engineering, Covenant using various load-sharing probabilistic ratios.
University, Ogun State, Nigeria. This research was The result shows that the unreliable power sup-
necessary to minimize the cost of energy in an ply from the national grid is the cheapest option,
environment of epileptic power supply to reduce while the renewable PV system which is envir-
overreliance on the mains and greenhouse effect onmentally friendly is capital intensive to setup.
caused by alternative energy sources like diesel
generators. It is expected that with this research,
some huge or excessive energy bills will be

© 2018 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons
Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

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Adewale et al., Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658

Subjects: Power & Energy; Electrical & Electronic Engineering; Engineering Economics

Keywords: energy audit; load profiling; renewable energy optimization; photovoltaic power
system; techno-economic analysis; building energy demand

1. Introduction
Energy is pivotal to nation building and technological advancement (Uddin, Shamim Iqbal, &
Talukdar, 2017, Zhao, Zhang, & Liang, 2013). Electrical energy can be generated from renewable
and non-renewable sources, and it is one of the major sources of energy that can be easily
converted from one form to another. The demand for electricity in commercial buildings is on
the increase, especially in Africa, as a result of the rapid growth and development of the economy
and also due to urbanization. A number of sub-Saharan African countries are plagued with poor
energy infrastructure, with the electricity generated in Africa accounting for just 4% of the global
electricity consumption (Eia, 2008, Moyo, 2009). In Nigeria, energy demand cannot be met by the
national grid alone due to inadequate power generation, low transmission and distribution infra-
structure coupled with other challenges, leading to frequent power outages and network instability
(Agbetuyi, Adewale, Ogunluyi, & Ogunleye., 2011, Awosope, 2014, Olukoju, 2004, Oseni, 2011,
Samuel, Katende, Awosope, & Awelewa, 2017). Nigeria currently generates less than 15% of the
estimated national energy demand of 31,000 MW as at 2015 (Adekitan, Adetokun, Shomefun, &
Aligbe, 2018). This is a threat to economic growth and the advancement of the modern built sector
(Imaah, 2014).

Technological advancement has stimulated an increase in economic activities and the standards
of living, and this, in turn, increases the demand for energy. Most of this energy demand arises
from the built environment (offices, homes, factories and so on). The built environment accounts
for 40% of the global energy demand and energy consumption in the United States (Lin, Wang,
Chen, & Freihaut, 2018, Pickering, Hossain, French, & Abramson, 2018), and commercial buildings
statistically have been seen to consume more energy than residential buildings. According to
Sadrzadehrafiei et al. (2012), office buildings consumes 70–300 kWh/m2 of energy, and this is
about 10–20 times more than the energy consumption of residential buildings.

The energy efficiency of buildings is an important issue to building owners as it translates to cost
(Dinardi, Dinardi, & Torne, 2018, Siggelsten, 2018). Energy consumption in commercial buildings
can be reduced using several approaches such as energy awareness programs and consideration
of user behavioural impact. But all these approaches have little impact on the energy demand. A
more effective measure is an upgrade in the design of the power source. Commercial buildings
have a great energy saving potential (Ghenai & Bettayeb, 2017, Keerthi Jain et al., 2017), and this
can be realized via an adequate assessment of building energy demand and alternative supply
source comparative techno-economic analysis. The building energy audit conducted by Woo and
Moore (2019) revealed that housing tenure types have a more significant effect on energy con-
sumption as compared with the physical condition of the building, and likewise, the study also
emphasized the importance of considering the socio-economic status of the occupant of buildings
when developing energy efficiency models for multi-residential buildings. According to Makaremi,
Schiavoni, Pisello, and Cotana (2018), a sizable amount of energy can be saved by increasing the
indoor surface reflectance properties of buildings, but there is no single design solution for optimal
energy savings and high visual quality. To save energy in buildings, a compromise between the
quality of the indoor environment and the energy savings may be required (Merabtine & Maalouf,

The increasing global energy demand raises concern in respect to the depleting non-renewable
energy sources and the attendant negative effects of fossil fuels on the environment such as
climate change, global warming (Leung, 2018) and ozone layer depletion. Globally, there is a drift
towards the harnessing and utilization of renewable energy sources in a bid to check the negative

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effect of fossil fuel on the ozone layer by greenhouse gas emissions. This calls for the continuous
integration of cost-effective and environmental friendly alternative energy sources in the energy
mix. Modern buildings incorporate various forms of green energy either in the form of solar and
wind energy sources or by the use of energy-efficient building materials and building design
methodologies (Alwetaishi & Gadi, 2018) with several in-built automatic switch devices for home
automation purposes (Çomaklı & Yüksel, 2003, Sadrzadehrafiei et al., 2012).

In this study, the electrical energy requirement and supply source alternatives for a commercial
building in Nigeria are evaluated using a seven-storey, eight-floor multipurpose office complex as a
case study. The design and selection of an optimal and cost-effective energy source combination
would serve as a solution to the growing energy demand of the modern-day office, leading to cost
and energy savings.

2. Power supply to buildings in Nigeria

Electrical power generation and supply are grossly inadequate in Nigeria for both commercial and
domestic uses. The inadequate supply and availability of needed energy are a challenge to
sustainable development of the built environment. In spite of this setback, there is a significant
increase in building development in Nigeria and in Africa generally due to the increasing popula-
tion and demand pressure for housing (Mu’Azu, 2012). To compensate for the insufficient and
unreliable energy from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), office complex depends on
other energy sources (such as petrol and diesel generator and inverters) has either a backup or
100% power supply (Adenikinju, 2003). This increases the operational cost of businesses in Nigeria.

In a typical office building, there are three major energy consumption areas: Heating, Ventilation
and Air Conditioning; lighting (Keerthi Jain et al., 2017); and appliances (IT equipment, telecom-
munication and so on). PHCN records reveal that at least 10% of commercial buildings in Nigeria
are classified as Maximum Demand (MD) costumers. MD costumers are heavy energy users that
are placed separately on a dedicated transformer. A number of manufacturing companies and
government buildings fall in this category. The bulk of the energy consumption in such buildings is
typically for cooling needs. According to the studies by Ghenai and Bettayeb (2017) and Mohsen
(2011), buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emission, with refrig-
eration and air conditioning loads accounting for about 70% of the average electrical energy

This research took place in the south-western region of Nigeria. This is a moderately hot, humid
tropical climatic zone, with two major seasons, namely dry season which lasts from October till
April and rainy season which starts in March and runs till November. This region has relatively high
temperature of about 30°C and low temperature of about 24°C, and this increases the need for air
conditioning. This view is also supported by Ghadi and Baniyounes (2018) which reveals that a
significant relationship exists between the average air temperature of the environment and energy
consumption. A large-scale office is one that spans 1,000 m2 and above, and this research studies
the electrical loads and various power supply scenarios of an eight-floor multipurpose office
complex. Other methods such as load forecasting have been used previously as in Samuel,
Chihurumanya, Adewale, and Awelewa (2014), but this has its demerits when load sharing is
being considered.

3. Materials and method

3.1. Data collection

All necessary information concerning the case study was acquired through physical facility inspec-
tion, detailed survey and energy audit. Also, relevant data on the seven-storey building office
complex under study were provided by the authorities concerned. According to Ian Shapiro (2009),
energy audits can be classified into three levels, and these are walkthrough, general and invest-
ment grade depending on the thoroughness and the scope of the audit. For this study, data were

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collected on the building’s layout and electrical energy requirements for ventilation, air condition-
ing, lighting and so forth.

3.2. Load calculation

An energy evaluation becomes essentially the first step of an energy audit, and it is an assess-
ment, a survey and data-based analysis of the energy flows towards developing an energy
management plan or model for the system or building, so as to reduce the total energy consump-
tion without any negative consequence on the system’s output. Second, inferences were made
based on the data obtained from the audit, and designs are created for a cost-effective energy
supply and efficiency.

A load survey was conducted on the available load capacity of the office complex. The surveyed
load was carefully classified using a tally method, and an average power rating was taken for similar
devices of different ratings for different equipment manufacturers. The different types of electrical
loads and their power rating were identified, and this is presented in Table 1. Note that this is the
calculated building load, but practically, diversity factor will often come into play because all the loads

Table 1. The electrical load survey analysis for the building

Electrical load in the office spaces
S/N Electrical/ Quantity Wattage (W) Operational Energy
electronic hours/day consumption
devices/ (Wh)
1 Desktop 74 225 8 133,200
2 Desk jet printers 32 175 2 11,200
3 Photocopier/ 8 1,000 4 32,000
4 Laptops 74 60 8 35,520
5 LCD/LED display 46 30 8 11,040
6 Desk light 74 40 2 5,920
Conference rooms
7 Projector 7 210 2 2,940
8 P. A. system 7 1,000 2 14,000
9 Microwave 8 1,200 2 19,200
10 Fridge 8 180 8 11,520
11 Bread toaster 8 600 1 4,800
12 Coffee maker 8 600 2 9,600
13 Kettle 8 1,800 1 14,400
14 Water dispenser 8 580 12 55,680
Reception/waiting area
15 LCD/LED display 2 30 12 720
16 Water dispenser 2 580 12 13,920
17 Central light 210 52 12 131,040
18 Central air 8 5,000 12 480,000
19 Elevator 2 52,000 12 1,248,000
Total daily energy 2,234,700
consumption (Wh)

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may not be switched on at the same time. The photovoltaic (PV) system must be designed to be able
to handle the maximum load with a safety tolerance margin factored in to prevent overloading.

In Nigeria, official work hour for most companies is usually from 8 am to 5 pm. For the purpose
of this project, we are assuming that the office runs for an average of 10 h daily from Monday
through Friday. This implies that a five-day work week is used. Using 261 work days per year and
over the next 10 years, there are 2,610 work days, taking into cognizance the average number of
public holidays in a year.

4. Analysis of the unit cost of energy from alternative power sources

A comparative cost analysis is performed based on a 10-year running period. The unit cost of
energy can be determined using thermo-economic method (Moran, 1982, Oh et al., 2014). The unit
cost of electricity from a power generation system (generator, renewable sources) is defined by the
cost-balance equation as follows in Equation (1):
Cf Ez þ ∑Ck ¼ Cw Ew
z (1)

The terms are defined as follows:

Cf – Fuel cost per unit

Ez – Fuel consumption rate

Ck – Components of the capital cost

Cw – Unit cost of electrical energy

z – Rate of electrical energy generation


For renewable energy sources without fuel (e.g. solar energy), the cost-balance equation is
defined in Equation (2) as follows:

∑Ck ¼ Cw Tc Ew
z (2)

Electricity generated by the energy system annually

Tc ¼ (3)
Annual capacity of the energy system

The capacity factor Tc can be replaced with the utilization factor of the energy system given in
Equation (4)

Total hours of operation annually

Uf ¼ (4)
365  24

4.1. The national grid

The estimated total energy consumption (Wh) by the electrical fittings, devices and power loads in
the building in a day is 2,234,700 Wh/day. The national energy tariff for commercial users is
35.35 Naira/kWh as determined by National Energy Regulatory Council (NERC).

The total cost of daily consumption = Total daily consumption (kWh) × Tariff =
1000 = 2,234.7 × 35.35 = 78,996.645 Naira/day

For the 10-year period assuming a constant NERC tariff, the energy cost for the 2,610 work days
is obtained as follows:

Energy cost over 10 years = 78,996.645 × 2610 = N206,181,243.00

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4.2. Diesel generator

The load demand of the office complex was found to be 243,320 W, and with a power factor of 0.8,
the load in kVA is 304.15 kVA. For the purpose of this analysis, a Cummings 3-phase, 415-V, 50-
Hzdieselenginegenerator is selected, with a capacity of 360 kVA and fuel (automotive gas oil)
consumption rate of 62 L/h, with a lube oil capacity of 37 L.

Cost of purchase and installation = 30,500,000 Naira

Cost of diesel with yearly inflation considered = 241.8 Naira/L

Daily fuel consumption = 620 L

Daily fuel cost = 62 × 10 × 241.8 = 149,916 Naira

Total daily energy consumption = 2,234,700 Wh/day

Per hour energy consumption for a 10-h work day = 2,234,700/10 = 223,470 Wh

Annual maintenance cost = N 600,000

Factoring all cost over 10 years = 30,500,000 + (149,916 × 2610) + (600,000 × 10) = 427,780,760

Daily cost of using generator = 2610 = 163,900.674 Naira

Daily Cost of energy 163900:674

Per unit cost = Total daily consumption ðkwhÞ = 2;234:7 = 73.34 Naira/kWh

A possible alternative general analysis that was applied by Malami Suleiman, Rabiu Abbas, and
Aliyu (2017) is to convert the volume of diesel into equivalent kWh for a simplified analysis. A litre
of diesel is equivalent to 38.6 MJ (Bud, 2018), and since 1 kWh is equal to 3.6 MJ, therefore a litre of
diesel is equal to 10.72 kWh.

4.3. Photovoltaic solar energy system

Globally, fossil fuel resources are gradually being depleted. Fossil fuel is a major source of
environmental pollution and global warming. A decrease in the use and dependence on fossil
fuel is significant for an improved civilization without any detrimental effect on the environment.
The combustion of 2.56 kWh of fossil fuel is required to generate 1 kWh of electricity, and this
produces 0.53 kg of CO2 into the environment, while the quantity of CO2 produced by PV system is
estimated as 0.063 kg/kWh, although this does not include the CO2 produced during the manu-
facturing process of PV modules (Cheng, Yeh, & Tu, 2008, Cucchiella, D’Adamo, Gastaldi, & Koh,

Solar power system is a renewable source of energy that uses solar PV cells to convert the
radiant energy of the sun into electricity. The electrical energy generated can be used immediately
or stored for later use. The energy may be supplied to the grid or combined with other electrical
energy sources (renewable and non-renewable). For grid-connected system, a purpose-specific
grid-controlled power inverter is used to convert the DC electrical energy generated by the PV
system into AC (Dalton, Lockington, & Baldock, 2009). The solar PV system is a source of clean
electrical energy that can be applied for various energy needs in residential buildings, industry,
agriculture, livestock and so forth.

The intensity of the sun incident on a PV panel varies with the rotation of the earth, and
consequently, the amount of electric energy that a PV module produces also varies accordingly.
The electricity generated by PV modules is dependent on the type and the number of PV panels,

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Figure 1. A typical solar PV

system setup on a building’s
roof top.

Source: The grid by Rexel.

the location and positioning of the modules, the efficiency of the PV panels, the efficiency of the
other components of the PV system (inverter, the line losses), the prevailing temperature, the use
or non-use of solar trackers and so forth. The solar panel can be installed directly on buildings and
can be used as a replacement for tiles and other fittings. The PV system is easy to use. It is clean
and pollution free and does not contribute to global warming. Also, it has a minimal impact on
landscape, and it offers a low operating cost. The major disadvantage of PV system is the high
initial setup capital (Ajayi, Ohijeagbon, Mercy, & Ameh, 2016, Cucchiella et al., 2012).

A solar PV system is an integration of multiple components that must be appropriately selected

based on the type of system, the location and the application. The very first step in designing a PV
system must be a careful examination of the electrical loads. This is done because component
sizing is dependent on the electricity and power demands. This is especially crucial for stand-alone
systems. Also, it prevents oversizing as a result of poor load analysis which arises from trying to be
safe, and this can be damaging in fields where poor economics is a major drawback.

The major components of a solar system are solar charge controller, inverter, battery bank,
auxiliary energy sources and load appliances. A typical solar PV system is shown in Figure 1. The
batteries can be connected in parallel or series to achieve the designed energy output. The battery
type recommended for use is the deep-cycle battery which is specially designed for rapid recharge,
and it can be discharged to low energy levels each day for many years.

4.4. Design parameters for this study

Rated terminal DC voltage: 48 V

Operational hours per day: 10 h

The PV system will mostly serve as a power backup, supplying power only for a fraction of the 10
work hours each day. In order not to oversize the design which would increase the setup capital
unnecessarily, the battery capacity must be sized using a reasonable days of autonomy.

Days of autonomy: 1.5 days

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Depth of discharge: 50%

Amperage of battery: 2,490 AH

4.5. Battery sizing

Estimated Wh capacity = Total building energy requirement × Days of autonomy =
2,234,700 × 1.5 = 3,352,050 Wh

Depth of discharge = 50% (~0.5)

Battery loss factor = 0.9

Design Wh capacity = 4,469,400/(0.5 × 0.9) = 7,449,000 Wh

Ampere hour rating = 7,449,000/48 = 155,187.50 Ah

Number of batteries required = 155,187.5/2,490 = 62.32 (~64 flooded deep-cycle batteries)

4.6. Inverter sizing

The inverter is required to handle a load of 243,320 W. Therefore, five 60 kW inverters is recom-
mended, and this gives a total capacity of 300 kW and a safety margin of 23.29% redundancy.

4.7. PV panel sizing

Total Watt-hours needed per day = 2,234,700 Wh/day.

Watt-hours needed from the PV system = 2,234,700 × 1.3

The panel generation factor (Nigeria) = 3.41

The overall Watt-peak rating = 2,234,700 × 1.3/3.41 = 851,938.416 Watt-peak

PV power rating per module = 400 Wp

The number of solar panels needed for the design = 851,938.416/400 = 2129.846 panels

Hence, 2,130 solar panels of 400 Wp will be required to supply the building’s electrical energy

4.8. Charge controller

The solar charge controller rating per string = ISC × 1.3

ISC = Total short circuit current of the PV array

Pm = 400 Wp

Vm = 49.27 V (DC)

Im = 8.12 A

Voc = 61.10 V

Isc = 8.62 A

Minimum rating of the single solar charge controller = (2,130 × 8.62 A) × 1.3 = 23,868.78 A

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Using strings of five PV modules per controller = (5 × 8.62 A) × 1.3 = 56.03 A

Hence, 426 charge controllers of 60 A can be used

To analyse the cost requirement of a typical PV system, it is vital to evaluate the lifespan of the
solar PV system. According to the Renewable Energy Hub UK, a solar panel has an average life span
of 25 years, and it is often sold with a limited product warranty of 10 years (labour and materials)
and 25 years of limited power warranty (usually 25 years at 80% and 10 years at 90% continuous
power output). Materials used and workmanship have a warranty of 1–2 years, and there is a
battery warranty of 5–15 years for non-grid systems and hybrids. The warranty on inverters varies
between 5 and 10 years. For the maintenance cost of the solar PV system, only two major things
need to be considered over the 25 years; and these are the inverter maintenance and cleaning of
the solar PV every 6 months. A cost estimate for setting up the solar PV system, based on the
design parameters, is presented in Table 2.

Cost of acquisition and installation = 582,260,000 Naira

Annual cost of maintenance = 50,000 Naira

Factoring all cost over 10 years = 582,260,000 + (50,000 × 10) = 582,760,000 Naira

Daily cost of using solar PV system = 2610 = 223,279.693 Naira

Daily Cost of energy 223;279:693

Per unit cost = Total daily consumption ðkwhÞ = 2;234:7 = 99.92 Naira/kWh

5. Comparative load sharing for the alternative energy sources

In a microgrid, load sharing is the proportional division of the total kW and kVAR load between
multiple energy sources in a parallel system. The reliable operation of microgrids can be achieved
by properly sharing the load demand among available energy sources within the microgrid. The
load sharing depends on the type of energy sources and the characteristics of the microgrid where
most of these energy sources are based. The grid integration of renewable energy source (solar PV
system) increases the uncertainties as the power generation from renewable energy sources relies
heavily on natural sources (e.g. sunlight) which are unpredictable. In such cases, load sharing
becomes more challenging as the reliability of the grid degrades. A proper load-sharing technique
is necessary to enhance the reliability and cost of the microgrid.

This study employs the technique of applying simple ratio to divide the load demand among the
alternative sources, so as to find the cost of using different combinations of energy sources to
power the load was carried out. Via a comparative analysis, the most cost-effective means can be
determined; three load-sharing scenarios are considered for this purpose.

5.1. Scenario 1
The load-sharing ratio and the associated cost for scenario 1 are shown in Tables 3–5. As shown in
Figure 2, the results of the sharing ratio points to combination 2 as being the most cost-effective
ratio of the energy sources. Combination 2 is made up of the PHCN grid supplying half of the load
demand of the office complex and the diesel generator providing the other half.

5.2. Scenario 2
The load-sharing ratio and the associated cost for scenario 2 are shown in Tables 6–8. The results
of the sharing ratio in scenario 2 imply that combination 1 is the most cost-effective ratio of the
energy sources as shown in Figure 3. This combination comprises of the grid supplying 100% of the
power demand to the office complex.

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Table 2. Cost estimate for setting up the solar PV system

S/N Equipment Specification Quantity Estimated Amount (₦)
1 Batteries Deep-cycle 64 6,000,000 384,000,000
2 Solar PV panel 400 W, 48 V 2,130 65,000 138,450,000
3 Charge 60 A, 48 V 486 50,000 24,300,000
4 Inverter 60 kW 5 2,500,000 12,500,000
5 Combiner boxes 486 40,000 19,440,000
6 Panel rack 1 1,800,000 1,800,000
7 Battery rack 1 750,000 750,000
8 AC breaker 1 105,000 105,000
9 Change over 1 95,000 95,000
10 Distribution box 1 120,000 120,000
11 Cables and 700,000 700,000
Total cost (₦) 582,260,000

Table 3. Ratio of energy sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator Grid Solar
1 1 0 0
1 ½
2 /2 0
1 ¼ 1
3 /2 /4
3 ¼
4 /4 0

Table 4. Load sharing among alternative sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator (kWh) Grid (kWh) Solar (kWh)
1 2,234.70 0 0
2 1,117.35 1,117.35 0
3 1,117.35 558.675 558.675
4 1,676.025 558.675 0

Table 5. Ratio of the cost of energy sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator (₦) Grid (₦) Solar (₦)
1 163,892.90 - -
2 81,946.45 39,498.32 -
3 81,946.45 19,749.16 55,822.81
4 122,919.67 19,749.16 -

5.3. Scenario 3
The load-sharing ratio and the associated cost for scenario 3 are shown in Tables 9–11. From
scenario 3, it is observed that the most cost-effective energy source by simple ratio is combination
2 as shown in Figure 4. This combination comprises half of the energy demand of the office

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Figure 2. Daily cost of supply

using scenario 1 source

Table 6. Ratio of energy sources for scenario 2

Combination Generator Grid Solar
1 0 1 0
1 1
2 /2 0 /2
1 1 1
3 /4 /2 /4
3 1
4 0 /4 /4

Table 7. Load sharing among alternative sources for scenario 2

Combination Generator (kWh) Grid (kWh) Solar (kWh)
1 0 2,234.7 0
2 1,117.35 0 1,117.35
3 558.675 1,117.35 558.675
4 0 1,676.025 558.675

Table 8. Ratio of the cost of energy sources for scenario 2

Combination Generator (₦) Grid (₦) Solar (₦)
1 - 78,996.65 -
2 81,946.45 - 111,645.61
3 40,973.22 39,498.32 55,822.81

complex being supplied by the grid and the remaining half of the energy is supplied by the solar PV

6. Comparative cost analysis for the various energy supply source combinations
Figure 5 shows the cost chart for all the three supply scenarios for the microgrid. It is observed that
scenario 2 combination 1 is most cost effective when the PHCN grid is supplying 100% of the load
demand of the office complex. This is then followed by scenario 2 combination 4 when the grid is
supplying 75% of the load and the solar PV system supplies the remaining 25%. Finally, the next
cost-effective source combination is scenario 1 combination 2, in which the diesel generator and

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Figure 3. Daily cost of supply

using scenario 2 source

Figure 4. Daily cost of supply

using scenario 3 source

Table 10. Load sharing among alternative sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator (kWh) Grid (kWh) Solar (kWh)
1 0 0 2,234.7
2 0 1,117.35 1,117.35
3 558.675 558.675 1,117.35
4 558.675 0 1,676.025

Table 11. Ratio of the cost of energy sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator (₦) Grid (₦) Solar (₦)
1 - - 223,291.22
2 - 39,498.32 111,645.61
3 40,973.22 19,749.16 111,645.61
4 40,973.22 - 167,468.42

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Adewale et al., Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658

Table 9. Ratio of energy sources for scenario 1

Combination Generator Grid Solar
1 0 0 1
1 1
2 0 /2 /2
1 1 1
3 /4 /4 /2
1 3
4 /4 0 /4

Figure 5. The cost implication

of all the supply source combi-
nations for the three scenarios.

the PHCN grid share the supply of the load demand evenly. This implies that in order of ascending

Grid (100%) > grid (75%) & solar PV system (25%) > grid (50%) and diesel (50%)

6.1. Comparative cost for a single source supply

From the simple ratio table, and for the three scenarios considered, when each of the energy sources
supplies 100% of the load demand, it is observed that there is an increment by order of cost as

Figure 6. The energy cost when

a single source supply 100% of
the load.

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Adewale et al., Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658

Figure 7. The energy cost with

PHCN grid supplying a maxi-
mum of 50% of the load.

Figure 8. The energy cost with

diesel generator and solar PV
supplying at least a portion of
the load.

Grid > diesel generator > solar PV system

This implies that the most cost-effective energy source is the energy from the PHCN grid as
shown in Figure 6, and therefore, it should be the best choice. This would have been ideal, but the
poor state of the national grid is a major challenge due to constant outages as a result of very low
power generation and distribution capacity.

6.2. Comparative cost for maximum 50% load supply by PHCN grid
This analysis considers supply combinations when the national grid supplies not more than 50% of
the load. This would mean combinations 2, 3 and 4 from scenario 1, combination 3 from scenario 2
and combinations 2 and 3 from scenario 3 as shown in Figure 7. The analysis shows that scenario 1
combination 1 is most cost effective, at grid producing 50% and below of the total load demand.

6.3. Comparative cost when diesel generator supplies a portion of the load
In Nigeria, the use of renewable energy sources is at its infant stage, and buildings having solar PV
installations are scarce to find. The reality is that dependence is on fossil fuel-powered generators
for needed energy. During the day, smoke from various generator exhausts can be seen rising to
the sky at many commercial areas, and in the evening, the use of generators coupled with the
smoke and engine noise becomes predominant in the residential areas.

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Adewale et al., Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658

Figure 9. The energy cost when

two sources supply 50% of the
load each.

The comparative cost when the diesel generator supplies a portion of the load and the solar PV
system also supplies at least a portion of the load. The supply source combinations that satisfy this
condition are plotted in Figure 8.

The result shows that for the two lowest cost supply combinations, there is an increment by
order of cost as follows:

Grid (50%) & DIESEL (25%) & solar PV (25%) > grid (25%) & diesel (50%) & solar PV (25%)

6.4. Comparative cost when two sources supply 50% of the load each
In this analysis, supply combinations when the total load demand is shared equally between two
supply sources are considered as shown in Figure 9.

From Figure 9, it can be seen that the most expensive combination has gotten from scenario 2
combination 2. This is the combination of energy from the diesel generator and solar PV, and the
high cost is as a result of the huge capital outlay for setting up a PV system coupled with the
recurring maintenance cost and increasing price of diesel for the diesel generator.

From all the cost analysis performed, it is clear that the energy cost is cheapest when sourced
from the national PHCN power grid. This cost advantage cannot be fully utilized due to the
unreliability and the frequent outages of the PHCN grid. Within the first 4 months of 2018, the
national grid has completely collapsed four times, and when available, less than 15% of the
estimated national energy demand is generated. Diesel generator is the common alternative,
deployed by the most commercial buildings, and from the analysis, it offers a good cost advantage
over solar PV system in the short run, due to high setup capital of PV systems. Diesel is a fossil fuel,
and like other fossil fuels, the world is gradually running out of supply of non-renewable energy
sources. Coupled with this is the production of greenhouse gases by the combustion of diesel
which depletes the ozone layer and thereby destroying the environment.

It is vital to include renewable energy sources in the energy mix as a sustainable panacea to the
high energy needs of a modern building (Ghenai & Bettayeb, 2017). According to Jo, Aldeman, Lee,
and Ahn (2018), renewable energy-based power systems are more efficient when connected to the
public grid than when it is setup as a standalone off-grid system. This also creates an opportunity
for selling excess energy generated by the renewable energy source to the public, thereby reducing
the payback time and the unit energy cost of the renewable energy source.

Scenario 2 combination 3 is the recommended option, although this is not the cheapest option, but
it combines renewable solar PV-based supply in the energy mix and also creates an opportunity to sell
excess generated energy to the public while at the same time reducing the production of greenhouse

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Adewale et al., Cogent Engineering (2018), 5: 1546658

gases by diesel generators. Also, since the PV system will supply only 25% of the load, it can be
redesigned to handle this reduced load, thereby drastically reducing the initial setup capital.

7. Conclusion
The energy demand of an eight-floor multipurpose office complex in the south-western region
of Nigeria was profiled and analysed towards determining the cost-effective approach for
powering the building’s electrical load. Three sources of electrical energy were considered and
these are PHCN public grid supply, diesel generator and solar PV system. The unit cost of energy
for the three alternative sources was determined using initial setup capital and the operational
running cost analysis over a 10-year period. Load-sharing probabilistic ratio approach is then
applied to determine the cost of powering the building’s total electrical loads using various
percentage combinations of the alternative energy supplies. The result reveals that energy from
the national PHCN grid is the cheapest, but this is challenged by network instability and
fluctuations in supply which disrupt the business activities. Diesel generator is a viable alter-
native to the unreliable public supply, but the burning of fossil fuel is a major source of
greenhouse gases globally, and efforts are constantly being made to protect the ozone layer
by reducing the sources of ozone-depleting substances. Solar PV system is a renewable energy
source, which is sustainable and clean. The use of solar PV system is challenged by the high
initial setup and installation capital. Hence, as carried out by this study, there is a need to
always find a balance between these operational realities towards ensuring a cost-effective
energy supply without a consequential damage to the environment. A further area of study will
be the inclusion of other renewable sources such as wind energy.

Acknowledgements transfer switch for a single phase power generator.

The authors appreciate Covenant University Centre for International Journal of Engineering Science, 3(4), 1–
Research, Innovation and Discovery for supporting the 7.
publication of this research study. Ajayi, O. O., Ohijeagbon, O. D., Mercy, O., & Ameh, A.
(2016). Potential and econometrics analysis of stan-
Funding dalone RE facility for rural community utilization and
The author received no direct funding for this research. embedded generation in North-East, Nigeria.
Sustainable Cities and Society, 21, 66–77.
Author details doi:10.1016/j.scs.2016.01.003
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