The utilization of renewable energy to run desalination plants has enormously expanded in the last two decades. In this study, a grid-connected hybrid solar-wind system is proposed to power a small-scale Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination unit. In a case study, the system's performance has been analyzed under the weather conditions of the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. A numerical model has been developed based on a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) approach to design and size the proposed system. The developed model is solved on an hourly basis to capture hourly variations of weather conditions with the aim to obtain an efficient design to operate the RO plant and supply freshwater to a small community living in a remote area at minimum cost. The developed model allows finding the optimal number of wind turbines, the number of photovoltaic (PV) modules, and the energy purchased from the national grid. Since the desalination energy consumption depends on the feed water conditions, two energy consumption rates are considered, namely, 2 and 4 kWh/m3. The results show that brackish water can be purified for the two different energy requirements at a cost varying between 1.72 and 1.84 $/m3, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the help and support provided by the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Hybrid power system
  • Mixed-integer linear programming
  • Optimization
  • RO desalination Unit
  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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