How to Design Solar PV System |
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What is solar PV system? Solar photovoltaic system or Solar power system is one of renewable energy system which uses PV modules to convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity generated can be either stored or used directly, fed back into grid line or combined with one or more other electricity generators or more renewable energy source. Solar PV system is very reliable and clean source of electricity that can suit a wide range of applications such as residence, industry, agriculture, livestock, etc. Major system components Solar PV system includes different components that should be selected according to your system type, site location and applications. The major components for solar PV system are solar charge controller, inverter, battery bank, auxiliary energy sources and loads (appliances). Solar PV system sizing 1. Determine power consumption demands The first step in designing a solar PV system is to find out the total power and energy consumption of all loads that need to be supplied by the solar PV system as follows: 1.1 Calculate total Watt-hours per day for each appliance used. 1.2 Calculate total Watt-hours per day needed from the PV modules. 2. Size the PV modules Different size of PV modules will produce different amount of power. To find out the sizing of PV module, the total peak watt produced needs. The peak watt (Wp) produced depends on size of the PV module and climate of site location. We have to consider “panel generation factor” which is different in each site location. For Thailand, the panel generation factor is 3.43. To determine the sizing of PV modules, calculate as follows: 2.1 Calculate the total Watt-peak rating needed for PV modules 2.2 Calculate the number of PV panels for the system Result of the calculation is the minimum number of PV panels. If more PV modules are installed, the system will perform better and battery life will be improved. If fewer PV modules are used, the system may not work at all during cloudy periods and battery life will be shortened. 3. Inverter sizing An inverter is used in the system where AC power output is needed. The input rating of the inverter should never be lower than the total watt of appliances. The inverter must have the same nominal voltage as your battery. For stand-alone systems, the inverter must be large enough to handle the total amount of Watts you will be using at one time. The inverter size should be 25-30% bigger than total Watts of appliances. In case of appliance type is motor or compressor then inverter size should be minimum 3 times the capacity of those appliances and must be added to the inverter capacity to handle surge current during starting. For grid tie systems or grid connected systems, the input rating of the inverter should be same as PV array rating to allow for safe and efficient operation. 4. Battery sizing The battery type recommended for using in solar PV system is deep cycle battery. Deep cycle battery is specifically designed for to be discharged to low energy level and rapid recharged or cycle charged and discharged day after day for years. The battery should be large enough to store sufficient energy to operate the appliances at night and cloudy days. To find out the size of battery, calculate as follows: 4.1 Calculate total Watt-hours per day used by appliances. Battery Capacity (Ah) = Total Watt-hours per day used by appliances x Days of autonomy 5. Solar charge controller sizing The solar charge controller is typically rated against Amperage and Voltage capacities. Select the solar charge controller to match the voltage of PV array and batteries and then identify which type of solar charge controller is right for your application. Make sure that solar charge controller has enough capacity to handle the current from PV array. For the series charge controller type, the sizing of controller depends on the total PV input current which is delivered to the controller and also depends on PV panel configuration (series or parallel configuration). According to standard practice, the sizing of solar charge controller is to take the short circuit current (Isc) of the PV array, and multiply it by 1.3 Solar charge controller rating = Total short circuit current of PV array x 1.3 Remark: For MPPT charge controller sizing will be different. (See Basics of MPPT Charge Controller) Example: A house has the following electrical appliance usage:
The system will be powered by 12 Vdc, 110 Wp PV module. 1. Determine power consumption demands
2. Size the PV panel
3. Inverter sizing 4. Battery sizing Battery capacity = [(18 W x 4 hours) + (60 W x 2 hours) + (75 W x 12 hours)] x 3 5. Solar charge controller sizing |