Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Development and implementation of a Data Acquisition System for a Grid Connected Photovoltaic array

Tinker, Ashley (2016) Development and implementation of a Data Acquisition System for a Grid Connected Photovoltaic array. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (4MB) | Preview


The project undertaken at the Building 190 facility seeks to upgrade an existing data acquisition system to allow for monitoring of the power being produced, and the power being delivered to the utility grid by the photovoltaic (PV) array located on the roof of the building. The PV array consists of 60 PV modules, resulting in a 4.5kWp (kW peak) array. These modules are able to be aligned into a large variety of array configurations via a Patch Panel. The PV array is connected to the utility grid via an SMA Sunnyboy 5000TL transformerless inverter. There is also a range of environmental sensors connected to the data acquisition system to allow for current environmental conditions to be monitored.

The original data acquisition program that was used for this project lacked the capabilities to record the power being delivered to the utility grid, and thus the main aim of this project was to upgrade the system to include this feature. The project also included the restoration of any and all equipment needed to allow for the data acquisition system to function properly. Restoration included the replacement of faulty environmental sensors, namely the anemometer and the wind vane. The newly installed anemometer also required installation of a FP-CTR-502 counter module.

A key aspect of the project was re-establishing data communication between the Allen-Bradley PLC and the PC host to the data acquisition system. Methods taken to restore communications included replacement of the PLC battery, removal of unnecessary serial connections and the alteration of the data transfer rate on the host PC to match that of the PLC. This successfully restored data communications between the PLC and host PC.

Overall, the data acquisition system that was developed is fully operational. The user of the system is able to record the power produced by the PV array and the current environmental conditions, both at one second intervals. This enables reliable data recording during times of inconsistent sun exposure. The user can also record the power being delivered to the grid, however, only at an extended sample rate of 36 seconds due to the sluggish behaviour of the PLC program.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Calais, Martina
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year