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PV array troubleshooting and educational facility

Peters, Kieran (2015) PV array troubleshooting and educational facility. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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The Photovoltaic Array Troubleshooting and Educational Facility is a specialised experimentation platform for researchers and students to develop a greater practical understanding of photovoltaic modules, arrays, shading effects and fault scenarios. The Facility was designed, constructed, tested, and delivered to Murdoch University in order to complete the requirements of an undergraduate engineering honours thesis.

Proposed learning experiments involved the investigation of series, parallel, and bypass diode connections of or within photovoltaic modules, partial shading and mismatch effects, as well as the effectiveness of over-current protection under different fault conditions in an extra low voltage array. The Facility provides for the safe measurement of voltages and currents of individual module or array sections of the interconnected array using handheld multimeters and portable IV curve tracers.

Research was conducted on background photovoltaic system theory, module construction and array design, followed by an in-depth examination of the relevant legal regulations applicable to this project. This research was followed by a basic feasibility analysis, used to determine the practicability of this project as a means to satisfy the client requirements, given the technical, operational, economic and scheduling opportunities available for application. Once feasibility was demonstrated the Facility could be designed in detail using software tools, with components specified, sourced, financed and ordered. Upon arrival of the build components the Facility was constructed using industry-standard tools and methods, and tested for module performance and student-level experiment suitability.

The Photovoltaic Array Troubleshooting and Educational Facility project was a complete success. Many new experiments are now available to students, particularly dealing with photovoltaic fault scenarios. Almost all existing d.c. photovoltaic experiments from the Murdoch University Renewable Energy Engineering major can now be conducted in greater detail, on a full array of modules, while exposing students to industry standard components and techniques. The Facility is also available for open days and promotions, and shall be used to attract new students to the industry, the school, and generate a greater enthusiasm for solar power generation.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Calais, Martina and Pryor, Trevor
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