Abstract A hybrid renewable energy systems (HRESs) comprises of photovoltaic (PV), and self-charging fuel cells (SCFC) is designed for securing electrical energy required to operate brackish water pumping (BWP) and reverse osmosis desalination (RO) plant of 150 m3 d-1 for irrigation purposes in remote areas. An optimal configuration of the proposed design is determined based on minimum cost of energy (COE) and the minimum total net present cost (NPC). Moreover, a comparison with a stand-alone diesel generation (DG) or grid extension is carried out against the optimal configuration of PV/SCFC HRES. The modeling, simulation, and techno-economic evaluation of the different proposed systems, including the PV/SCFC system are done using HOMER software. Results show that PV array (66 kW), FC (9 kW), converter (25 KW) –Electrolyzer (15 kW), Hydrogen cylinder (70 kg) are the viable economic option with a total NPC of $115,649 and $0.062 unit cost of electricity. The COE for the stand-alone DG system is 0.206 $/kWh, which is 69.90% higher than that of the PV/SCFC system. The PV/SCFC system is cheaper than grid extension. This study opens the way for using a fuel cell as an effective method for solving the energy intermittence/storage problems of renewable energy sources.

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