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Photovoltaic training facility – Upgrade and performance evaluation at Murdoch University

Al Sidairi, Omar (2019) Photovoltaic training facility – Upgrade and performance evaluation at Murdoch University. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This project focused on upgrading the Photovoltaic Training Facility installed on the rooftop of Murdoch University’s School of Engineering and Energy building. This objective included the addition of a new battery and inverter into the system as well as a change in design configuration for optimal efficiency. The project also focused on the improvement of the monitoring, evaluation and documentation aspects of the system’s operations.

In order to achieve its objectives, a literature review was first done, which included information on the previous upgrades done in phases to the PV Facility over the years. The literature review also included options for batteries and inverters. The best-suited equipment for the purposes of this project were chosen. Additionally, international standards for system monitoring, analysis and documentation were compared, namely the IEC 61724 Standard and the APVI standard. Then, parameters for monitoring could were chosen, and these included irradiance, ambient air temperature, module temperature, voltage, current and electric power. These parameters’ measurement procedures were detailed. Three test methods for evaluation of the PV facility efficiency were discussed: edge seal durability, photovoltaic system performance and energy evaluation. Lastly, the process for documentation via a monitoring log was described.

The methodology for completing the upgrade to the PV Training Facility included five (5) in steps: design configuration, equipment selection, equipment approval, matching PV array and inverter, and design installation. For the battery, the Aqueous Hybrid Ion S30-0080 Battery Stack was chosen, and for the inverters, the Backup Inverter MultiGrid 3000VA and Fronius Galvo 2.0-1 were chosen.

The final design configuration includes two inverters; one multimode inverter connected to the battery storage and the second one is grid-connect inverter connected to the PV array. A total of 22 modules were determined to be needed for the new system, 5 were placed in series and 4 in parallel. Further, the two extra modules need to be removed or disconnected from the array configuration. 4 AHI S30-0080 battery stacks in series were also included in the design. The design operated in 2 ways. Firstly, during normal conditions, the system maintains a charge to the battery unit. Secondly, and during disconnection from the grid, the system is capable of providing the user with an alternate supply of the specified load generated from the PV array and/ or battery. For this reason, an interconnection switching device was also included in the new design since it is more complex than the old one.

The performance was analysed using the APVI standard, by measuring the following parameters: specific array yield, final PV system yield, reference solar yield, array capture losses, performance ratio, array efficiency, PV system efficiency. The inverter efficiency was determined to be approximately 94%. During performance monitoring, it was decided that the PV arrays needed to be cleaned to remove dirt build up on the surfaces. This, as well as shading by trees, created disruptions in the performance analysis.

The project concludes by identifying that a majority of the components in the PV training facility work effectively but there is one inverter that is not operational and that manifests problems in relation to compatibility with the available software. The performance analysis conducted also illustrates that there are arrays that are located in a manner that is not suitable to support data collection for performance analysis – for instance due to shading and irradiance.

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