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AUGUST 2009

DURHAM UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING
SCIENCES
MSC IN NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
RESEARCH AND DESIGN PROJECT
FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR SCHOOL RENEWABLE
ENERGY SUPPLY
BY
MARY MWOGEZA
SUPERVISOR: DR KATERINA FRAGAKI
ii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Katerina Fragaki, for all the guidance she gave me
and for being understanding and patient with me during the course of the project.
PROJECT SUMMARY

This project was aimed at carrying out a feasibility study on supplying Lembo-Menelik
International Academys (LMIA) resource centre, located in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), with electricity generated using renewable energy. The resource centre is
located in Kinshasa, the DRCs capital, and is currently connected to the countrys electricity
grid. However, grid electricity is very unreliable with frequent power cuts and this is
deterring the resource centre from achieving its development goals which are to increase the
number and quality of services it offers and hence attract more customers. It is because of the
need of reliable electricity and the fact that the DRC is rich in renewable energies such as
Solar, biomass and Hydropower that LMIA is seeking to supplement the grid electricity at its
resource centre with that generated using renewable energy.

The use of a solar photovoltaics system to supply the resource centres electricity needs was
studied in this project because data about solar energy was more readily available compared
to data about the biomass and Hydropower potential in the vicinity of the resource centre. A
grid back-up solar PV system was considered to be the most appropriate for the centre. This
grid back-up solar PV system was designed as a stand-alone system supplying the centres
electricity needs of approximately 28109 Wh/day, the demand during periods when there is
no grid electricity. The design of the stand-alone PV system was carried out using PVSYST
software which determined the required nominal capacity of the PV array as 10.6 kWp and
that of the storage batteries as 600 Ah.

The major challenge faced in the project was obtaining accurate information about: energy
consumption at the resource centre, load shedding periods, geometry and orientation of the
buildings and surrounding objects at the resource centre.

iii

PROJECT PLAN

Task Duration Dec
(last 2
weeks)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
(1
st
2
weeks
Literature Review 26 weeks
Data Collection 20 weeks
Preliminary Design 4 weeks
Project Design 8 weeks
Report Writing 26 weeks

iv

Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................................................................... ii
PROJECT SUMMARY ............................................................................................................. ii
PROJECT PLAN ..................................................................................................................... iii
List of Figures ........................................................................................................................... vi
List of Tables ........................................................................................................................... vii
Nomenclature ........................................................................................................................... vii
1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................. 1
1.1 Background ................................................................................................................. 1
1.2 Scope of study ............................................................................................................. 2
1.3 Objectives .................................................................................................................... 2
1.4 Tools used and main results ........................................................................................ 2
1.5 Structure of the Report ................................................................................................ 2
2 LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................................................................. 3
2.1 Solar Radiation ............................................................................................................ 3
2.1.1 The nature of solar radiation ................................................................................ 3
2.1.2 Sun Earth Relationships .................................................................................... 4
2.1.3 Radiation on an inclined surface .......................................................................... 5
2.2 Solar Cell ..................................................................................................................... 7
2.2.1 Energy Bands ....................................................................................................... 8
2.2.2 Semiconductor Junction ....................................................................................... 8
2.2.3 The structure of a solar cell .................................................................................. 9
2.2.4 Equivalent circuit of a solar cell .......................................................................... 9
2.2.5 Characteristic I-V curve of a solar cell under illumination................................ 10
2.2.6 Solar cell performance losses............................................................................. 12
2.2.7 Temperature and Irradiance effects ................................................................... 13
2.3 The Photovoltaic Generator ...................................................................................... 14
2.3.1 Interconnection of PV modules ......................................................................... 16
2.3.2 Hot-spot effect ................................................................................................... 16
2.3.3 Orientation of Flat-plate Arrays ......................................................................... 17
2.4 Power Conditioning and Regulation ......................................................................... 18
2.4.1 Charge regulator................................................................................................. 19
2.4.2 DCDC Converter ............................................................................................. 20
2.4.3 DC AC Converter/Inverter .............................................................................. 21
2.5 Types of PV systems ................................................................................................. 21
2.6 Sizing stand-alone photovoltaic systems with battery storage .................................. 23
2.6.1 Intuitive methods ............................................................................................... 23
v

2.6.2 Numerical methods ............................................................................................ 24
2.6.3 Analytical methods ............................................................................................ 24
2.6.4 Sizing procedure using the intuitive method for a constant load ....................... 24
2.7 Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 28
3 RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL IN KINSHASA .............................................. 29
3.1 Democratic Republic of Congo ................................................................................. 29
3.2 Renewable energy in Kinshasa ................................................................................. 30
3.2.1 Wind energy ....................................................................................................... 30
3.2.2 Biomass energy .................................................................................................. 30
3.2.3 Hydropower ....................................................................................................... 30
3.2.4 Solar energy ....................................................................................................... 31
4 SOLAR PV SYSTEM FOR LMIAS RESOURCE CENTRE ....................................... 33
4.1 Daily energy consumption at the Resource centre .................................................... 33
4.2 Type of System.......................................................................................................... 35
4.3 Preliminary Design of a Stand-alone PV System, at Kinshasa, using PVSYST ...... 36
4.3.1 PVSYST Preliminary design input data Procedure ........................................... 36
5 PROJECT DESIGN OF THE STAND-ALONE PV SYSTEM USING PVSYST ......... 39
5.1 PVSYST input data Procedure .................................................................................. 39
5.2 PVSYSTs Simulation Process ................................................................................. 43
5.2.1 Effective incident solar energy calculation ........................................................ 43
5.2.2 Array Maximum Power Point (MPP) Virtual energy .................................... 45
5.2.3 System energy .................................................................................................... 45
6 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ...................................................................................... 48
6.1 Results of the North-facing array orientation ............................................................ 50
7 ECONOMIC EVALUATION ......................................................................................... 55
7.1 Capital costs of the major system components ......................................................... 55
7.2 Operation and Maintenance cost ............................................................................... 55
7.3 Economic evaluation in PVSYST ............................................................................. 56
8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .......................................................... 58
8.1 Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 58
8.2 Recommendations ..................................................................................................... 59
9 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 60
APPENDICES ......................................................................................................................... 61


vi

List of Figures

Figure 2.1: The Ecliptic plane, Equatorial plane, polar axis and solar declination angle [7] .... 4
Figure 2.2: (a) Zenith angle, slope, surface azimuth angle, and solar azimuth angle for a tilted
surface. (b) Plan view showing solar azimuth angle [5]. (c) Incidence angle on a tilted surface
.................................................................................................................................................... 5
Figure 2.3: The apparent daily motion of the sun showing the hour angle [6] .......................... 5
Figure 2.4: The silicon solar cell [6] .......................................................................................... 9
Figure 2.5: Equivalent circuits of a solar cell [7, 8] ................................................................. 10
Figure 2.6: (a) I V characteristic of an illuminated solar cell (b) Maximum Power point and
other operating parameter [7]................................................................................................... 11
Figure 2.7: Effect of series and parallel resistances on the I-V characteristics of solar cells [7].
.................................................................................................................................................. 13
Figure 2.8: (a) Temperature (b) Irradiance dependence of the I- V characteristic of a solar cell
[6] ............................................................................................................................................. 13
Figure 2.9: Interconnection of PV modules [6] ....................................................................... 16
Figure 2.10: The hot-spot formation [6] .................................................................................. 16
Figure 2.11: Circuit diagrams of shunt and series regulators [7] ............................................. 19
Figure 2.12: Circuit diagram of a boost converter [9] ............................................................. 20
Figure 2.13: Single-phase full bridge inverter ......................................................................... 21
Figure 2.14: Stand-alone (a) DC; (b) AC system without battery [9] ..................................... 22
Figure 2.15: Stand-alone (a) DC; (b) AC/DC system with battery [9] ................................... 22
Figure 2.16: Stand-alone AC/DC system with battery and back-up generator [9] .................. 22
Figure 2.17: Grid back-up system ............................................................................................ 23
Figure 2.18: Grid-interactive system ....................................................................................... 23
Figure 3.1: (a) Location of DR Congo on the World Map (b) Map of DR Congo .................. 29
Figure 3.2: Pictures of different views of the Resource centre in Kinshasa ............................ 31
Figure 3.3: Availed Sketch of the plan view of the Resource centre ....................................... 32
Figure 3.4: Monthly average daily rising and setting times of the sun in Kinshasa ................ 32
Figure 4.1: Proposed grid back-up PV system at the resource centre ..................................... 35
Figure 4.2: Circuit diagram of the grid back-up PV system at the resource centre ................. 36
Figure 5.1: Hourly load profile at the resource centre during load shedding periods ............. 40
Figure 5.2: North-facing PV field and its environment at LMIAs resource centre ................ 42
Figure 5.3: An outline of a project's organisation and simulation process in PVSYST .......... 47
vii

Figure 6.1: Annual loss diagram for the North-facing PV array ............................................. 48
Figure 6.2: Annual loss diagram for West-facing PV array .................................................... 49
Figure 6.3: Annual loss diagram for East-facing PV Array ..................................................... 49
Figure 6.4: Monthly average daily global irradiation on a horizontal and inclined surface .... 50
Figure 6.5: Optimisation of the Plane tilt and orientation ....................................................... 51
Figure 6.6: A graph showing the ambient and module temperatures during the month of
March. ...................................................................................................................................... 52
Figure 6.7: Monthly effective array output energy, energy supplied to user and unused energy
loss ........................................................................................................................................... 53
Figure 7.1: Economic evaluation of proposed PV system at the resource centre .................... 57

List of Tables

Table 4.1: Daily energy consumption at the Resource centre ................................................. 34
Table 6.1: Monthly average daily missing energy and duration of loss-of-load ..................... 54
Nomenclature
AC Alternating Current
AM Relative air mass
B Beam radiation (kW/m
2
or kWh/m
2
.day)
D Diffuse radiation ((kW/m
2
or kWh/m
2
.day)
DC Direct current
DRC Democratic Republic of Congo
e Charge of an electron (1.602 X 10
-19
C)
E
c
Energy level of conduction band (eV)
E
v
Energy level of valence band (eV)
E
g
Band or energy gap (eV)
E Energy of a photon
EWB Engineers Without Borders
g Acceleration due to gravity (m/s
2
)
G Global Solar radiation (kW/m
2
or kWh/m
2
.day)
h Plancks constant (6.626068 10
-34
m
2
kg / s)
H Available water head (m)
viii

I Current output of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Amps)
I
D
Current through a diode or dark current (Amps)
I
L
Photogenerated current (Amps)
I
M
Maximum power point current of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Amps)
I
O
Saturation current of a solar cell (Amps)
I
sc
Short-circuit current of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Amps)
IAM Incident angle modifier
IGBT Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor
k Boltzmanns constant (1.381 X 10
-23
JK
-1
)
LED Light Emitting Diode
LMIA Lembo-Menelik International Academy
m Ideality factor (1 m 2)
MOSFET Metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor
MPP Maximum power point of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator
NOCT Normal operating cell temperature (
o
C)
N
s
Number of series connected modules in a PV generator
N
p
Number of parallel connected modules in a PV generator
P Power output of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Watts)
P
MAX
Maximum power output of a solar cell/module under standard test conditions (W)
P
L
Radiant power incident on a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Watts)
P LOL Loss-of-load probability
Q Water flow (m
3
/s)
R Resistive load (Ohms)
R
s
Series resistance of a solar cell (Ohms)
R
p
Parallel resistance of a solar cell (Ohms)
SOC State of charge
T Absolute temperature (K)
T
a
Ambient temperature (
o
C)
T
c
Temperature of a solar cell (
o
C)
V Voltage across a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Volts)
V
oc
Open-circuit voltage of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (Volts)
V
M
Maximum power point voltage of a solar cell / PV module / PV generator (volts)


ix

Greek letters
Energy conversion efficiency
Angle of incidence
Hour angle
Solar declination angle
Geographical latitude
Surface azimuth angle
Radiation frequency

z
Zenith angle

s
Solar azimuth angle
Slope or inclination angle to the horizontal

s
Solar altitude angle
Water density (Kg/m
3
) and ground reflectivity

1

1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

Lembo-Menelik International Academy (LMIA), located in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (abbreviated as DR Congo or DRC), is an organisation established in September 2008
through partnership between MenelikEducation Ltd and Groupe Scolaire Lembo. The
organisations main objective is to increase the number of children going to school and equip
adults with useful skills; in the deprived areas of the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. It currently
works with the communities in five of these deprived areas to: provide learning programmes
to those who have been denied primary education, support vulnerable children, rehabilitate
schools, and train adults in various skills. The academys schools are free of charge for those
who cannot afford to pay for the education and these account for about 35% of all students
but this number is expected to double in the near future. The schools also provide lunch to
students, which for many is the only guaranteed meal for the day. In order for the academy to
continue providing services to these students, it is looking to develop partnerships with local
and international businesses, organisations, and communities. It is also hoping to
collaborate/merge with other schools and colleges in the capital and beyond in order to raise
education standards, locally and nationally. The Academys immediate target is to refurbish
its schools, to increase the chances of collaboration with other schools, and a resource centre.
The resource centre is intended to generate funds to run the academy by providing access to:
various training courses, an internet caf, lodging, bar and restaurant facilities. The centre
will also have a library, the first of its kind in Kinshasa, where books ranging from science
and geography to drama and novels will be available to the general public.

In order for the Academys schools to run smoothly, provide good standard education
facilities such as laboratories, teaching material and so on, and compete favourably with other
schools; they require reliable electricity supply. The resource centre also requires reliable
electricity in order to effectively deliver its services and hence attract customers. However the
countrys electricity grid is very weak and cannot meet all the demand and hence there are
frequent power cuts otherwise known as load shedding experienced throughout Congo. The
schools, located in the outskirts of Kinshasa, can go for weeks without electricity while the
resource centre, because of its more strategic location, has no electricity for approximately
six hours per day. It is because of this electricity shortage and the fact that the Democratic
Republic of Congo is rich in renewable energy resources that Lembo-Menelik International
2

Academy asked Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB UK) to help them carry out a
feasibility study to determine the most appropriate renewable energy systems to supply their
electricity needs at the schools and resource centre. EWB UK is a student-led charity that
focuses on removing barriers to development using engineering. Its programmes provide
opportunities for young engineers in the UK to learn about technologys role in development.
I was introduced to this renewable energy project, for Lembo-Menelik International
Academy, through the research programme of EWB UK; which offers final year projects to
students in UK universities.
1.2 Scope of study
The study was focussed on the resource centre of Lembo-Menelik International Academy.
1.3 Objectives
The main objective was to carry out a feasibility study on supplying Lembo-Menelik
International Academys resource centre with renewable electricity
The specific objectives were;
- Identify the available renewable energy resources in Kinshasa, DRC
- Design the most appropriate renewable energy system for the resource centre
- Estimate the cost of the designed renewable energy system
1.4 Tools used and main results
The solar potential in Kinshasa was studied in this project and modelling using PVSYST
software carried out to design the solar PV system at LMIAs resource centre and also
simulate the performance of this system. The nominal capacity of the PV array was
determined to be 10.6 kWp and that of the battery was 600 Ah.
1.5 Structure of the Report
Chapter two is literature review on solar photovoltaic systems and their applications, chapter
three is about the renewable energy potential in Kinshasa, chapter four is about the PV
system suitable for LMIAs resource centre and its preliminary design using PVSYST
software, chapter five involves a more detailed project design of the PV system at the
resource centre using PVSYST, chapter six discusses the results obtained from PVSYSTs
project design, chapter seven evaluates the economics of the designed PV system at the
resource centre and finally chapter eight talks about the conclusions and recommendations of
the project.
3

2 LITERATURE REVIEW

The study in this report was focussed on using solar energy, in particular solar Photovoltaics,
to supply the energy needs of LMIAs resource centre because of the reasons mentioned in
the next chapter. The literature review therefore covers aspects related to solar PV systems
such as solar radiation incident on the collector plane, solar cells as the fundamental units that
convert sunlight to electricity, PV modules and arrays which produce the required amount of
power by the load, power conditioning and regulation, various types of PV systems, and
sizing of stand-alone PV systems.
2.1 Solar Radiation

The solar radiation at a particular location is of crucial importance to the design of a
photovoltaic system. Therefore this section reviews the various components of solar radiation
on the Earth and also explains how the amount of solar energy, falling on the surface of
photovoltaic modules, can be determined.
2.1.1 The nature of solar radiation
The suns structure and characteristics determine the nature of the energy it radiates into
space [5]. The sun is a sphere of intensely hot gaseous matter with a surface temperature of
5777 K.

In general, the rate of change, per unit time, of incident radiant energy on a unit surface area
is known as irradiance and is measured in kW/m
2
while irradiation, measured in kWh/m
2
, is
the incident energy per unit area of a surface and is determined by integration of irradiance
over a specified period of time, usually an hour or day.

The average amount of solar radiation that is incident on the outside of the Earths
atmosphere is 1367 W/m
2
. When the solar radiation enters the Earths atmosphere, some of
this radiation is reflected by the clouds, scattered by water droplets and suspended dust and
also absorbed by ozone, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour. The solar radiation which
is not modified by any of the above mentioned atmospheric process and travels in a straight
line directly from the sun to the Earths surface is called direct or beam radiation. The solar
radiation which reaches the Earths surface after being scattered by the atmosphere is called
diffuse radiation. Some of the solar radiation that reaches the Earths surface is reflected from
the ground and is called albedo radiation. Therefore the total radiation falling on a surface is
the sum of the direct, diffuse and albedo radiations and is called global radiation.
4

2.1.2 Sun Earth Relationships
The Earth moves around the sun in an elliptical orbit with the sun at one of the foci of the
ellipse. The plane of this orbit is called is called the ecliptic plane and the time taken by the
earth to make a complete revolution round this orbit defines a year.
At the same time, the sun rotates around its own axis, the polar axis, once every day. The
angle between the polar axis and the axis of rotation of the Earth in the elliptical orbit is equal
to 23.45
o
which is a constant. This constant tilt of the polar axis with respect to the ecliptic
plane results in a constantly changing solar declination angle, , which is the angle between
the equatorial plane and a straight line drawn between the centre of the Earth and the centre
of the sun. Solar declination varies from 23.45
o
to 23.45
o
, with north positive. The ecliptic
plane, equatorial plane, polar axis, and solar declination angle are shown in Figure 2.1 below.

Figure 2.1: The Ecliptic plane, Equatorial plane, polar axis and solar declination angle [7]

The angle between the vertical line through a point on the Earths surface and a straight line
from this point to the sun is called the zenith angle,
z
, which is equal to the angle of
incidence of beam / direct radiation on a horizontal surface. The angle of incidence, is the
angle between the beam radiation on a surface and the normal to that surface [5]. The
complement of the zenith angle that is the angle between the line to the sun and the horizontal
is called the solar altitude angle,
s
. The Slope is the angle between the plane of the surface
in question and the horizontal and lies in the range; 0
o
180
o
. is the surface azimuth
angle which is the deviation of the projection on a horizontal plane of the normal to the
surface from the local meridian, with zero due south, east negative and west positive; - 180
o

180
o
.
s
is the solar azimuth angle which is the angular displacement from south of the
projection of beam radiation on a horizontal plane, with zero due south, east negative and
west positive. is the hour angle (Figure 2.3) and is the angular displacement of the sun east
or west of the local meridian due to rotation of the earth on its axis at 15
o
per hour; morning
5

negative and afternoon positive [5]. The zenith angle, angle of incidence, solar altitude angle,
slope, surface azimuth angle and solar azimuth angle are shown in Figure 2.2.

(a) (b) (c)
Figure 2.2: (a) Zenith angle, slope, surface azimuth angle, and solar azimuth angle for a tilted
surface. (b) Plan view showing solar azimuth angle [5]. (c) Incidence angle on a tilted surface

Figure 2.3: The apparent daily motion of the sun showing the hour angle [6]
2.1.3 Radiation on an inclined surface
Solar radiation data is usually given in the form of global radiation on a horizontal surface,
however most PV panels are inclined at an angle, , to the horizontal and hence there is need
to convert this radiation data to that on the plane of the PV panels. This global radiation, as
mentioned earlier, is made up of three components; beam or direct, diffuse and albedo
radiations and each of these must be converted from the horizontal to the plane of the PV
panels. Many models have been developed for the conversion of solar radiation from a
horizontal to an inclined plane. All the different models differ in their treatment of the diffuse
radiation. The beam and albedo radiations are treated in the same way in all the models.


Sun
Normal to
Surface
6

Beam (Direct) radiation
The conversion of the beam component from the horizontal to an inclined surface involves a
purely geometrical transformation (cosine effect), which does not involve any physical
assumption, by means of the equation:
B () = B
cos +
+
for south-facing panels (2.1a)
or
B () = B
cos + + +
+
for north-facing panels (2.1b)
Where;
B () is the beam radiation on a collector inclined at an angle to the horizontal
B is the beam radiation on a horizontal surface
is the geographical latitude of the location that is the angular location north or south of the
equator with the north being positive. This angle varies from -90
o
to 90
o
.
is the declination angle at solar noon that is when the sun is on the local meridian.


is the hour angle

Diffuse radiation
The diffuse irradiance received by any surface is physically related to the distribution of
radiance over the celestial sphere (sky dome) which is a function of conditions of cloudiness
and atmospheric clarity [5, 7]. Clear-day data suggests the diffuse radiation as being
composed of three parts. The first is an isotropic part received uniformly from the entire sky
dome. The second is circumsolar diffuse resulting from forward scattering of solar radiation
and is concentrated in the part of the sky around the sun. The third, horizon glow, is
concentrated near the horizon and results for the earths albedo. It is difficult to obtain
theoretical models of general applicability that can predict the distribution of radiance over
the sky dome, partly because of its highly variable nature and partly the lack of routine
observations.
The simplest model, isotropic model, assumes that the diffuse radiation is distributed
isotropically over the sky that is every point of the sky emits light with equal radiation. The
diffuse radiation on an inclined surface is then calculated using the equation;
D () =
1
2
(1 + cos ) D; D is the diffuse radiation on a horizontal surface (2.2)
The assumption of diffuse radiation being isotropic has been shown to be inaccurate
especially for estimation of winter radiation which is of particular interest in photovoltaic
7

engineering. Better results are obtained using anisotropic models which take into account the
different components of diffuse radiation from the sky.

Kluchers anisotropic model (1979) multiplies the result of diffuse radiation as given by the
isotropic model by two factors that represent the effects of the horizon glow and circumsolar
radiation respectively [7]. Hay and Davies anisotropic model (1980) considers two regions of
the sky as distinct sources of diffuse radiation: first, the entire celestial hemisphere that emits
isotropically; second, a circumsolar region that emits from the same direction as the beam
radiation [5, 7]. This model does not consider the horizon glow. Reindl et al (1990b) add a
horizon glow term to Hay and Davies model, as proposed by Klucher, giving a model
referred to as the HDKR model [5]. Perez et al (1987, 1988, 1990) divide the sky into three
zones; each acting as a source of diffuse radiation: a circumsolar region which occupies a
certain angle, a horizon band occupying another angle and the isotropic region which
occupies the rest of the celestial hemisphere. In this model, the radiation coming for each
zone is constant.

Albedo radiation
The reflectivity of most types of ground is rather low and as a result the contribution of
albedo irradiance to the global irradiance falling on a receiver is rather small. Therefore it is
usual to assume that the ground is horizontal and of infinite extent and that it reflects
isotropically [7]. On the basis of this, the albedo radiation on an inclined surface is
determined using the equation given in [6];
R () =
1
2
(1 cos ) G (2.3)
Where is the reflectivity of the ground and depends on the composition of the ground and G
is the global radiation on a horizontal surface.

The total solar radiation on the inclined surface G () is then given by;
G () = B () + D () + R () (2.4)
2.2 Solar Cell

The conversion of the energy carried by optical electromagnetic radiation into electrical
energy is a physical phenomenon known as photovoltaic effect [7]. Solar cells are the
fundamental devices that carry out the above conversion in a solar photovoltaics system.
They are made from semiconductors and have much in common with other solid-state
electronic devices, such as diodes, transistors and integrated circuits [6]. Semiconductors are
8

either crystalline or amorphous giving rise to many different solar cells on the market but
crystalline silicon cells dominate the market because of their long lifetime (over 20 years) and
their best production efficiency which is approaching 18% [6].
2.2.1 Energy Bands
According to quantum theory, the electrons of isolated atoms have well defined discrete
energy levels. In a solid material, in which the atoms are close to each other and interact, the
individual levels spread out and form bands. For electronic and photovoltaic applications the
major bands are the conduction band, with an energy level of E
c
, and the valence band, with
an energy level E
v
. These two bands are separated by a band or energy gap E
g
whose width is
equal to the difference between the energy levels of the two bands that is E
c
E
v
. The energy
gap is an important characteristic of semiconductors and is given in electron volts (eV). An
electron volt is the energy acquired by one electron moving through a potential difference of
one volt.

Incident solar radiation can be considered as discrete energy units called photons. The
energy of a photon is a function of the frequency of the radiation (and thus also the
wavelength ) and is given in terms of the Plancks constant h by;
E = h (2.5)
Thus the most energetic photons are those of high frequency and short wavelength. Therefore
when sunlight is shone on a semiconductor material, the photons making up the sunlight can
be absorbed by the atoms if, and only if, their energy is equal to or greater than the difference
between the energy levels of the two bands that is the energy gap. The absorption of a photon
then excites the atom sending the electron from the valence to the conduction band. Therefore
only photons with certain discrete frequencies are absorbed. The number of electrons that
appear in the conduction band varies rapidly with the energy gap and temperature of the
semiconductor.
2.2.2 Semiconductor Junction
Consider two pieces of a given semiconductor, say silicon, with one piece, the n-type, doped
with tiny amounts of phosphorus so that almost every thousandth silicon atom is replaced by
a phosphorus atom. This creates free moving negative charges called electrons. The other
piece of the silicon semiconductor, p-type, is doped with miniscule amounts of boron so that
almost every millionth silicon atom is replaced by a boron atom. This creates free moving
positive charges called holes. When the n and p-type layers are placed close together, as they
9

are in a solar cell, the positively charged holes and the negatively charged electrons are
attracted to each other. As they move into their respective neighbouring layers they cross a
boundary layer called the p-n junction. This movement of negatively and positively charged
particles generates a strong electrical field across the p-n junction. When sunlight strikes this
field it causes the electrons and the holes to separate, which in turn creates a voltage of
around 0.5V across the p-n junction. This voltage pushes the flow of electrons or DC current
to contacts at the front and back of the cell where it is conducted away along the wiring
circuitry that connects several cells together.
2.2.3 The structure of a solar cell
The electrical current generated in the semiconductor is extracted by contacts on the top and
bottom of the cell. The bottom contact is made in the form of a metal base while the top
contact, which must allow light to pass through, is made in the form of widely-spaced thin
metal strips (usually called fingers) that supply current to a larger bus bar [6]. The cell is
covered with a thin layer of dielectric material called an antireflection coating (ARC) to
minimise reflection of light from the top surface. Figure 2.4 shows the structure of a silicon
solar cell.

Figure 2.4: The silicon solar cell [6]
2.2.4 Equivalent circuit of a solar cell
Figure 2.5 (a) shows an equivalent circuit of an ideal solar cell. When a load is connected to
an illuminated ideal solar cell, the current I that flows through it is the net result of two
counteracting components of the internal current and is given by the equation as found in [6];
I = I
L
I
D

I = I
L
I
O



1 (2.6)
Where;
I
L
is the photogenerated current or simply the photocurrent due to the generation of carriers
by the light [7].
10

I
D
is the diode current due to the recombination of carriers across the junction and is driven
by the external voltage V. This voltage is needed to deliver power to the load [7].
I
O
is the dark saturation current due to the diode being reverse biased. The p-n junction acts
as a diode.
e is the magnitude of the electron charge, k is the Boltzmanns constant, and T is the absolute
temperature.

(a) (b)
Figure 2.5: Equivalent circuits of a solar cell [7, 8]
However, real solar cells have series and parallel resistances as shown in Figure 2.5 (b). The
solar cell equation, as given in [7], is then;

I = I
L
I
O

+


1
+

(2.7)
Where;
R
s
is the series resistance; R
p
the parallel resistance; and m an empirical non-ideality factor
whose value is usually close to unity [6].
2.2.5 Characteristic I-V curve of a solar cell under illumination
Equation 2.6 is used to draw the characteristic I-V curve of a solar cell (Figure 2.6). The sign
convention used is that generated current is positive (the opposite of the convention used with
diodes as normal circuit elements) [7]. By this convention, the solar cell functions as a
generator of energy in the first quadrant where the cell delivers current to a load to which a
positive voltage is applied.
As can be seen from Figure 2.6 (a), the maximum value of current from an illuminated solar
cell is obtained under short circuit conditions that is when V = 0. According to Equation 2.6,
the short circuit current I
SC
is equal to the photogenerated current I
L
. Also the maximum
voltage that can be developed across the terminals of an illuminated solar cell is under open
circuit conditions that is when the terminals are isolated (infinite load resistance) and the
current I from Equation 2.6 is equal to zero. In this case all the photogenerated current I
L

I
L

I
D
I
Load
V
Junction
V
Junction
I
L

I
D

I
R
p

R
s

11

passes through the diode that is I
L
= I
D
. This maximum voltage is called the open circuit
voltage V
OC
and according to Equation 2.6 is equal to;
V
OC
=

+ 1 (2.8)

Figure 2.6: (a) I V characteristic of an illuminated solar cell (b) Maximum Power point and
other operating parameter [7]
No power is delivered to a load under short or open circuit. If energy from the solar cell is to
be supplied to a resistive load, then the power dissipated in this resistance is given by the
product P = IV. The maximum power P
Max
produced by the solar cell is reached at a point on
the I-V characteristic where the product IV is maximum [6]. This operating point (I
M
, V
M
) at
which maximum power is dissipated in the load is called the Maximum Power Point (MPP)
and it defines the largest area of the rectangle below the I-V characteristic (Figure 2.6 (b)).
The area of the rectangle corresponding to the product I
M
V
M
is obviously smaller than the
area corresponding to the product I
SC
V
OC
and the ratio of the two areas is defined by the fill
factor FF as;
FF =

(2.9)
From the above definition of fill factor, the maximum power produced by the cell is;
P
Max
= I
M
V
M
= FF V
OC
I
SC
(2.10)
The fill factor gives a quantitative measure of the form of the characteristic curve and is in
the range 0.7 to 0.8 for many crystalline semiconductor cells [7].

The energy conversion efficiency of a solar cell is defined as the ratio of the power P
Max

produced by the cell at the maximum power point under standard test and the power P
L
of the
radiation incident on it.
=

(2.11)
Most frequent standard conditions are: irradiance of 100 mW / cm
2
(or 1 kW / m
2
), standard
reference AM1.5 spectrum, and temperature 25
o
C. The use of this standard irradiance value is
12

particularly convenient since the cell energy conversion efficiency in percent is then
numerically equal to the power output from the cell in mW / cm
2
[6].
2.2.6 Solar cell performance losses
There are a number of physical and technological loss mechanisms that result in a low solar
cell energy conversion efficiency which are discussed below.

There is a minimum energy level (and thus a maximum wavelength) of photons that can cause
the creation of an electron hole pair. For silicon, the maximum wavelength is 1.15 m.
Radiation at higher wavelength does not produce electron hole pairs but just heats up the
cell leading to a power loss. Also, each photon causes the creation of a single electron hole
pair and the energy of photons in excess of that required to create electron hole pairs is
converted to heat [5].

A certain fraction of photons of all energies are reflected on hitting the surface of the
semiconductor due to the difference in refractive index [7]. These reflection losses can be
reduced by putting an antireflective coating composed of a thin optically transparent
dielectric layer on the top surface of the cell.
Recombination of the photogenerated carriers results into losses because these carriers do not
reach the electrical contacts and are hence not collected. Recombination is most common at
impurities or defects of the crystal structure where excited charges are trapped and
subsequently recombine before being collected. It may also occur at the surface of the
semiconductor where energy levels may be introduced inside the energy gap [6]. These
energy levels act as stepping stones for the electrons to fall back into the valence band and
recombine with holes. Another site for possible recombination is at the ohmic metal contacts
to the semiconductor. The effect of recombination is that it reduces both the current, through
the probability of carrier collection, and the voltage output by increasing the dark current.

Part of the top layer of a cell is shaded by the contact grid which reduces the active cell area
that is the area exposed to the incident solar radiation, hence leading to a power loss.

Series and parallel resistances of the cell: The series resistance within the cell itself and in
its contacts causes a power loss during transmission of the electric current produced by the
solar cell. The series resistance is a particular problem at high current densities that is under
concentrated light. The parallel resistance also called shunt resistance arises from the
leakage of current around the edges of the cell and between contacts of different polarity.
13

Both the series and parallel resistances affect cell operation mainly by reducing the fill factor
as shown in Figure 2.7.

Figure 2.7: Effect of series and parallel resistances on the I-V characteristics of solar cells [7].
All the above mentioned losses explain the efficiency of about 23% for the best silicon cell
today [6].
2.2.7 Temperature and Irradiance effects
In practical applications, solar cells do not operate under standard conditions. The two most
important effects that must be allowed for are due to the variable temperature and irradiance
as shown in Figure 2.8.

(a) (b)
Figure 2.8: (a) Temperature (b) Irradiance dependence of the I- V characteristic of a solar cell
[6]
Effect of Temperature
Temperature variations have a pronounced effect on the voltage output from the cell whereas
the effects of temperature on the current and fill factor are less pronounced and are often
neglected in the design of PV systems. The cell voltage decreases with increasing
14

temperature (has a negative temperature coefficient). The voltage decrease of a silicon cell is
typically 2.3 mV per Celsius degree rise in temperature [6]. From Figure 2.8 (a) it can be
observed that an increase in temperature results in a decrease in the maximum power that the
cell can deliver and hence a decrease in the cell efficiency.

Effect of irradiance
The photogenerated current is proportional to the flux of photons whose energy is equal to or
greater than the energy gap of the semiconductor. Increasing the irradiance increases the flux
of photons with high enough energy to create electron-hole pairs and consequently the
photogenerated current. Therefore the short-circuit current I
sc
of a solar cell depends
exclusively on the irradiance G (kW/m
2
) according to the linear relation:
I
sc
(G) = I
sc
(at 1kW/m
2
) X G (2.12)
The voltage variation, as can be seen from equation (2.8) and Figure 2.8 (b), is much smaller
and is usually neglected in practical applications [6].

Although it is desirable to operate the solar cell at the maximum power point, this may not be
easy to realise in practice. A simpler but less efficient solution is to operate the cell at a
constant voltage below the voltage of the maximum power point [6]. If the operating voltage
remains in the linear part of the I V characteristic, temperature will have little effect on the
power output of the solar cell therefore the power delivered to the load will be proportional to
the short circuit current and thus also to the irradiance.
2.3 The Photovoltaic Generator

One solar cells voltage and current output is too small for most applications. The output
voltage can be increased by connecting individual solar cells in series whereas the output
current is increased by connecting the solar cells in parallel. Therefore in order to produce
the required power and voltage, solar cells are interconnected in series to form modules. In
addition to supplying the required voltage and power, photovoltaic modules provide
protection and mechanical strength to the solar cells [7]. Several configurations of modules
are on the market but the most common have 30 to 36 crystalline silicon cells and can work
with 12 V batteries. The number of cells in a module is governed by the nominal operating
voltage of the system which should be matched to the nominal voltage of the storage
subsystem [6]. In the case of 12 V battery storage, the module output voltage should be
higher than 12V in order to be able to charge the battery and also compensate for lower
output under less-than-perfect conditions. The power of silicon modules usually falls between
15

40 and 60 W [6]. The module parameters are specified by the manufacturer under the same
standard conditions as those used to characterise solar cells that is: irradiance of 100 mW /
cm
2
, standard reference AM1.5 spectrum, and temperature 25
o
C.
The nominal output is usually called the peak power of a module, and expressed in peak
watts, W
p
[6].

The I V characteristic of a module is similar to that of a solar cell the only difference being
that a module has a higher open-circuit voltage than that of a solar cell. Also the voltage at
the maximum power point of a module is higher than that of a solar cell; however the current
output of a module is equal to that of one solar cell. A modules performance is affected by
irradiance and temperature in a manner that is similar that of a solar cell. As mentioned
before, for an individual solar cell, its voltage decreases with increasing temperature at a
coefficient of - 2.3 mV /
o
C for the open-circuit voltage V
oc
. Therefore for a module which
has n
c
cells connected in series, the negative temperature coefficient of the open-circuit
voltage will be big and will equal to;
dV
oc
/ dT = - 2.3 n
c
mV /
o
C (2.13)
This is the reason why in practical applications modules should not be installed flush against
a surface. Air should be allowed to circulate behind the back of each module so that its
temperature does not rise to a level that there is a significant reduction in its output. An air
space of 4 6 inches is usually required to provide proper ventilation [10]. It is important to
note that the module voltage is determined by the operating temperature of the cells which is
different from the ambient temperature [6].

For much of its operational life, a module works in irradiances lower than 1 kW / m
2
and at
temperatures higher than 25
o
C. Therefore the use of peak power to compare the performance
of different modules is not adequate. The characterisation of a PV module is completed by
measuring the Normal Operating Cell temperature (NOCT) defined as the cell temperature
when the module operates under the following conditions at open-circuit [6]:
Irradiance 80 mW / cm
2
(or 0.8 kW / m
2
)
Spectrum AM 1.5
Module tilt angle At normal incidence to the direct solar beam at local solar noon
Ambient temperature 20
o
C
Wind speed 1 m/s
The NOCT, which is usually between 42
o
C and 46
o
C, is then used to determine the
temperature of the solar cells during module operation. In practice it is assumed that the
16

working temperature of the cells T
c
depends exclusively on the irradiance G (kW/m
2
) and the
ambient temperature T
a
, according to the linear relation:
T
c
T
a
=
20
0.8
(2.14)
2.3.1 Interconnection of PV modules

Figure 2.9: Interconnection of PV modules [6]
In many applications the power available from one module is inadequate for the load. A PV
generator, also called an array, is made up of several modules connected in series and parallel
combinations in order to obtain the desired voltage and current (Figure 2.9). The voltages in
series connected modules are additive while in parallel connected modules, the currents are
additive.
2.3.2 Hot-spot effect
The hot-spot effect can be provoked by partial shadowing or soiling of cells, cracked or
mismatched cells or interconnection failures. Consider a series connected string of matched
cells in which one of the cells is partly shaded, soiled or damaged so as to reduce the current
it can generate to a value below that of the others (Figure 2.10).


Figure 2.10: The hot-spot formation [6]
The shaded, soiled or damaged cell will be forced into reverse bias because all the cells must
carry the same current and for the affected cell to do this, the voltage must be negative [9]. In
this condition, power is dissipated in the shaded or damaged cell of a magnitude equal to the
product of the string current and the reverse voltage developed across this cell. This leads to a
considerable temperature rise in the affected cell. If the temperature exceeds 85
o
C there exists
17

a risk of damaging the entire module irreversibly [7]. The hot-spot effect can be alleviated by
connecting bypass diodes (as shown in Figure 2.9) across a block of several cells in a string,
such as across a module, in order to limit the power which can be dissipated in this block and
providing a low resistance path for the current generated by the other modules (or cells) in the
generator. It is also possible for hot spots to arise when cells /modules of differing voltage are
connected in parallel. The module with a lower open-circuit voltage (V
oc
) behaves as a load
dissipating the power generated by the others leading to heating of this module. To avoid this
problem blocking diodes are connected in series with each of the parallel components as
shown in Figure 2.9.
2.3.3 Orientation of Flat-plate Arrays
The transmittance of optical materials usually depends on the angle of incidence. Glass
covers of solar collectors present no exception and therefore the efficiency of collectors is
affected by their orientation with respect to the sun [6]. The transmittance of a glass cover is
highest when the sunlight strikes it perpendicularly, normal incidence, and decreases as the
angle of incidence increases from zero (normal incidence) to 90
o
(rays of sunlight parallel to
the plane of the solar panel). The decrease in the transmittance is because of an increase in
the reflectance and absorptance of the glass cover with increasing angle of incidence.
Therefore the efficiency of a solar panel is highest when the sunlight strikes it
perpendicularly and decreases with increasing angle of incidence. This is the reason why flat-
plate solar collectors are placed at an inclination to the horizontal in order to increase the
amount of sunlight striking them perpendicularly.

In most arrays, the modules are supported at a fixed inclination facing the Equator because of
its simplicity, low cost and the fact that there are no moving parts. However as the solar beam
is seldom at normal incidence to the modules, the daily energy output from a fixed tilt array is
not as high as it could be when the array is mounted on a 2-axis sun tracker.

By mounting the array on a 2-axis sun tracker, up to 40% more solar energy can be collected
over the year than in a fixed tilt installation, moreover the gain is mostly in the early morning
and late evening when it is particularly valuable in meeting peak demand [9]. However the
additional complexity of full 2-axis tracking and the introduction of moving parts is not
generally worthwhile except in large generators in the megawatt range.
The optimum angle in a fixed tilt installation depends mainly on the latitude, and the
proportion of diffuse radiation at the site, as well as other factors such as the load profile,
18

seasonal weather variations and storage battery capacity [9]. For systems, for example those
connected to the grid, whose most important consideration is the collection of maximum
energy over the year, panel inclination to the horizontal should be close to the latitude angle
of the site. However in many stand-alone systems which rely on energy storage by batteries,
the principal consideration may not be to collect maximum energy over the year but to
maximise the daily irradiation during the worst month (the month having the least favourable
ratio between irradiation and consumed energy [7]). An inclination steeper than the latitude
angle (as a rule of thumb 15 degrees higher) is better for applications where the peak
consumption occurs during the winter whereas an inclination smaller than the latitude angle
is better for places where there is a high proportion of diffuse radiation and also for
applications whose peak consumption occurs during the summer (for example, crop
irrigation). In many places, the weather in the afternoons is often sunnier than in the
mornings therefore it is advantageous in such situations to make the modules face slightly
west of the direct line to the Equator [9].

A better and less complex way to increase output from PV modules, instead of using either a
fixed tilt installation or mounting of an array on a two axis sun tracker, may be the manual
adjustment of the orientation at regular time intervals. This can only be used in places where
labour is available. It has been estimated that, in sunny climates, a flat plat array moved to
face the sun twice a day (at mid-morning and mid-afternoon) and given a quarterly tilt
adjustment can intercept nearly 95% of the energy collected with a full 2-axis tracking [9].
2.4 Power Conditioning and Regulation

A photovoltaic system is an integrated assembly of modules and other components designed
to convert solar energy into electricity to provide a particular service either alone or in
conjunction with a back-up supply. PV systems involve a functional circuit composed of
different stages [11];
- Conversion
- Storage
- Load consumption
- Regulation
These systems experience fluctuating power output from the PV generator in conjunction
with a varying load consumption pattern; implying that energy flow within the system
requires management in order to avoid system malfunction. The energy flow management is
performed through the regulation process.
19

2.4.1 Charge regulator
To conserve battery life, overcharging and discharging too deeply must be avoided. For lead-
acid batteries, there is a direct relation between the voltage and the state of charge that makes
it easy to detect whether the battery is in a satisfactory condition [7]. Excessive discharge is
associated with a very low voltage and can be avoided by disconnecting the load from the
battery, using a switch, when the voltage falls below a certain threshold U
SD
.

Overcharge is associated with a very high voltage. It can be avoided by either incorporating
an electronic device to dissipate the excess potential generated by the modules, shunt or
parallel regulator (Figure 2.11 (a)), or disconnecting the batteries from the generator using a
series regulator (Figure 2.11 (b)). In the first case the modules are shunted with an electronic
device (such as a transistor) acting as a load through which no current flows in normal
operation. When the battery voltage exceeds a threshold value U
SC
, the power generated by
the modules is dissipated in this load. The blocking diode between the electronic device and
battery (Figure 2.11 (a)) prevents the battery from discharging in case of device failure. A
disadvantage of the shunt regulator is that it may dissipate a large amount of power and is
thus only used in small photovoltaic generators (less than 10A output current) [7].

For larger generators it is better to disconnect the battery from the generator using a switch or
series regulator (Figure 2.11 (b)). The on/off condition of the switch is controlled by the
battery voltage. A disadvantage of this regulator is the additional voltage drop over the switch
in normal operation (switch is on). The switch may be electromechanical (relays, contactors,
etc.) but more usually a field effect transistor (MOSFET) or an insulated gate bipolar
transistor (IGBT) is used.
(a) Shunt regulator (b) Series regulator
Figure 2.11: Circuit diagrams of shunt and series regulators [7]



I
PV

PV
Array
Load
I
B

I
T

I
PV

Load disconnection
switch
I
B

20

Energy flow in a PV system with a charge regulator
Case 1: PV array provides excess energy than is needed by the load and battery is partially
discharged

Case 2: PV array provides less energy than is needed by the load

Case 3: Battery fully charged or PV voltage lower than that of the battery because of very
low solar radiation and there is adequate charge in the battery; charge regulator disconnects
the PV (series regulator)

Case 4: Battery fully discharged; charge regulator disconnects the load (loss-of-load)

2.4.2 DCDC Converter
This device is used to convert the DC output from the array to a voltage or voltages suited to
the requirement of the battery or load(s) [9]. There are two basic types of this converter; buck
converter which reduces the voltage and boost converter which increases it. In this project we
are interested only in the boost converter (Figure 2.12).

Figure 2.12: Circuit diagram of a boost converter [9]
Current flowing in the inductor, Figure 2.12, rises while the switch is on, storing energy in
the magnetic field of the inductor. The rate of rise of the current is proportional to the voltage
across the inductor. When the switch is turned off the current in the inductor must continue to
PV array
Load
Battery
PV array
Battery
Load
Battery Load
PV array Battery
Inductor
V
i

V
o

Switch
Diode
Capacitor
21

flow. The voltage across the inductor changes sign rapidly and the current is diverted to flow
through the diode. The inductor current then falls until the switch is turned on again. The
ratio of the converters output voltage V
o
to its input voltage V
i
is determined by the duty
ratio D, ratio of the time the switch is on (T
ON
) to the period, and is given by:

=
1
1
(2.15)
D =

; T = T
ON
+ T
OFF

Typical values of the duty ratio D lie between 1 and 2. In real converters, losses are incurred
in the diode, inductor and switch hence equation (2.15) is not obeyed exactly. Typical
efficiencies of DC DC converters lie between 90 and 95% [7].
2.4.3 DC AC Converter/Inverter
An inverter converts power from DC to AC. It does this using electronic switches to reverse
the polarity of the electricity supplied to the load periodically [6]. Low power (up to tens of
kW) single-phase inverters generally use four controlled Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors
(IGBTs), which are able to switch rapidly, in a bridge arrangement as shown in Figure 2.13.
When operated simply the inverter generates a square wave by closing S1 and S4 while S2
and S3 are open, for one half cycle, then closing S2 and S3 while S1 and S4 are open, for the
second half cycle. The diodes are necessary to provide a path for the load current when both
S1 and S2, or S3 and S4, are open simultaneously especially during the changeover [6]. The
filter is used to smooth the inverters output voltage waveform by removing odd order
harmonics.

Figure 2.13: Single-phase full bridge inverter
2.5 Types of PV systems

The simplest system is a stand-alone system consisting of an array which supplies the load
directly (Figure 2.14 (a)). Such a system can be used for battery charging (with a simple
charge regulator) or for water pumping where the storage medium is a water tank [9].
S1 S2
Filter
DC source
S3 S4
22


(a) (b)
Figure 2.14: Stand-alone (a) DC; (b) AC system without battery [9]
The addition of a self-commuted inverter (Figure 2.14 (b)) makes it suitable for an ac pump
or other ac loads. For DC systems such as telecommunication equipment where the load has
to be supplied overnight and during periods of low irradiance, a storage battery with a charge
regulator must be added to the basic DC system (Figure 2.15 (a)).
(a) (b)
Figure 2.15: Stand-alone (a) DC; (b) AC/DC system with battery [9]

Combining systems of the types shown in Figures 2.14 (b) and 2.15 (a) gives a mixed AC/DC
system with battery (Figure 2.15 (b)) and is appropriate for domestic supplies in remote areas
[9]. A back-up generator is commonly used to improve the security of supply, reduce the
required storage and lower the capital cost (Figure 2.16)

Figure 2.16: Stand-alone AC/DC system with battery and back-up generator [9]

Turning to the grid-connected category, Figure 2.17 illustrates a simple ac system with a self
commutated inverter and grid back-up. Figure 2.18 shows a grid-interactive system, where
surplus power is fed to the grid through a second inverter. This inverter can also serve as a
rectifier for charging the battery from the grid [9].
DC loads PV array
AC loads PV array Inverter
PV
Array
Charge
Regulator
Battery
DC
loads
PV
Array
Charge
Regulator
Battery
DC
loads
AC
loads
Inverter
PV
Array
Charge
Regulator
Battery
Inverter
Back-up
generator
DC loads
AC
loads
o
o
o
23


Figure 2.17: Grid back-up system

Figure 2.18: Grid-interactive system
2.6 Sizing stand-alone photovoltaic systems with battery storage

Sizing a stand-alone PV system is an important part of its design since the equipment capital
cost is a major component of the price of solar electricity. Over-sizing a stand-alone system
has detrimental effects on the price of the generated power while under-sizing it reduces the
supply reliability [6]. In order to size a stand-alone PV system the following must be known:
solar radiation data for the particular location, load profile, expected supply reliability that is
the percentage of time the system is capable of meeting the load requirements, and the related
economics. The sizing procedure then recommends the array tilt angle, array size, and the
battery capacity which are optimum for the application in terms of economy and reliability.

There are many methods of sizing PV systems with no universally applied rules. The various
methods can be divided into three groups.
2.6.1 Intuitive methods
These methods are based on experience and no quantitative relationships between the
generator size, battery size and supply reliability is established. The size of the generator is
chosen to ensure that the energy produced during the worst month exceeds the demand of the
load by a margin that the designer chooses based on experience [7]. The same is done to size
the battery.
PV
Array
Charge
Regulator
Battery
Inverter
From grid
AC
loads
o
o
o
PV
Array
o
Inverter/
rectifier
Charge
Regulator
Battery
Inverter
From grid
AC
loads
o
o
o
o
24

2.6.2 Numerical methods
A relationship between the generator size, battery size, and the Loss-of-Load Probability (P
LOL) is established by means of a detailed simulation of the system. P LOL is defined as the
fraction of time during which electricity is unavailable divided by the total time it is required
[7]. The advantages of these methods are that they are more precise and allow refinements to
be made in order to incorporate more accurate models of each element of the system. They
also allow other issues apart from sizing to be studied such as the benefits of using a
maximum-power point tracker, the effect of using a charge regulator etc. However these
methods are complex, their calculation time is very long and a large series of irradiation data
is needed.
2.6.3 Analytical methods
These methods develop analytical expressions, in terms of the battery and generator sizes, to
describe isoreliability lines. Isoreliability lines are lines having the same value of P LOL on a
graph of generator size against battery size. From the analytical expressions, it is possible to
find different combinations of generator and battery sizes that lead to the same value of P
LOL. Analytical methods allow sizing to be carried out very simply and manual calculations
are often enough. However they are inaccurate in important respects [7].
2.6.4 Sizing procedure using the intuitive method for a constant load
Determination of the load demand
The load data of the equipment or appliances to be powered by the PV system that is their
number, nominal power, nominal operating voltage, and their operating period and duration
in a typical day is obtained. From the load data a daily load profile, which is a plot of the load
in W or kW against the time in a day, is determined by estimating the periods when various
electrical appliances (loads) will be operated. From the load profile, the average daily energy
consumption in kWhday
-1
can be determined. A load profile gives an indication of the
periods when there is peak demand which must be considered during system design because a
PV system powering a load whose peak matches periods of high solar radiation will have
smaller storage requirements [6].

Determination of the energy input
The radiation data for a particular site, together with the panel orientation, are used to
determine the incident solar radiation on the panel for a typical day in every month of the
year [6]. Radiation data for a particular site is usually given in form of global irradiation on a
25

horizontal surface and this should be converted into radiation received by a panel at an
inclined orientation. The radiation incident on a PV panel is usually expressed in peak solar
hours (PSH) where PSH is the number of hours of standard irradiance (1kW/m
2
) which
would produce the same radiation.
Numerically; Incident radiation = PSH X 1kW/m
2

Therefore PSH = Incident radiation in kWh/m
2
per day
The concept of PSH is introduced because it simplifies the calculation of the electrical energy
output of a PV array operating at constant voltage during a day by just multiplying the arrays
peak power produced under standard test conditions by the typical average value of PSH, as
shown in the next section.

Determination of the PV generator size for a constant load
The peak power P
c
(kW) of a PV array is the power produced under standard irradiance
(1kW/m
2
) and when the array is operated at its Maximum Power Point (MPP). The electrical
energy U
out
(kWh/day) produced by a PV array operating at its peak power for a period equal
to the PSH is; U
out
= P
c
X PSH (2.16)
Assuming the PV generator will be supplying a constant load of U
m
(kWh/day), then the
energy balance which equates the daily energy demand (Load) to the supply (electrical
energy produced by the PV array), is;
P
c
X PSH = U
m
(2.17)
Therefore the minimum number of peak watts necessary to meet the daily energy
consumption of U
m
is;
P
c
=
U
m
PSH
(2.18)
In practice the PV panel is not always operated at its maximum power point and there are
also additional losses which occur in the array, battery and inverter. To take the above factors
into account an efficiency factor

is introduced. Therefore the minimum generator size in
peak watts becomes;
P
c
=
U
m
PSH
(2.19)
Determination of the number of series-connected modules
The number of modules N
s
to be connected in a series string is determined by the DC
operating bus bar voltage V
DC
of the system. It is usual to take V
DC
as a multiple of the
nominal battery voltage of 12 V [6]. Therefore;
Ns =
V
DC
V
m
(2.20)
26

Where V
m
is the operating voltage of one module and is equal to 12 V for a module
consisting of 36 cells.

Determination of the number of parallel strings
The number of parallel strings N
p
is determined by the current required by the load from the
generator. The equivalent load current I
L
in Amps is calculated from the equation
I
L
=
U
m
X 10
3
24 X V
DC
(2.21)
The nominal current I
PV
produced by a photovoltaic generator with peak power P
c
can be
calculated from the equation;
P
c
=
U
m
PSH
= I
PV
V
DC
(2.22)
Therefore;
I
PV
=
U
m
X 10
3
PSH X V
DC

(2.23)
Substituting I
L
in the above equation gives;
I
PV
=
24 X I
L
PSH
(2.24)
The number of parallel strings is then calculated from the equation;
N
p
= (SF)
I
PV
I
SC
(2.25)
Where I
SC
is the short circuit current supplied by an individual photovoltaic module when
illuminated under standard conditions and SF is a sizing factor which is introduced to
oversize the amount of current available from the array [6].

Determination of the battery size
The output of photovoltaic systems fluctuates and is unpredictable because solar radiation is
by nature a variable with respect to time. As a result of this, stand-alone photovoltaic systems
need some form of energy storage to store energy in periods when the amount of electrical
energy available from the PV generator exceeds the load demand, for use during periods
when the reverse is true that is when there is little or no solar radiation. There are a variety of
energy storage methods available but the majority of stand-alone PV systems use lead-acid
battery storage because of being available and cost effective. In addition to the general
functions of a storage medium, batteries also serve as a regulator for the system voltage.
However their use introduces some complications in that a charge controller is required in
many cases, to prevent excessive discharge or overcharge of batteries, there is also an
27

increased maintenance requirement for example battery replacement and finally the system
cost increases [8]. Most batteries would need to be replaced every after three or four years
and when compared to the life of a PV generator which is about 20 to 25 years, the frequency
of battery replacement is high and this results in an increase in the overall system cost.

Some important parameters of batteries [7, 8]
The nominal capacity C
B
is defined as the number of ampere hours (Ah) / charge or the
amount of energy (Wh) that can be extracted from the battery. The value of this capacity
depends on the temperature, the current used in charging and discharging and the minimum
allowable voltage level at which discharge must be stopped. The state of charge SOC is the
available capacity of a partially charged battery divided by the nominal capacity. If SOC is
equal to one, then the battery is fully charged and if it is equal to zero then the battery is fully
discharged. The depth of discharge is equal to 1 SOC. The charge (or discharge) regime is
used to express the relationship between the nominal capacity of a battery and the current at
which it is charged (or discharged). This parameter is normally expressed in hours and is
represented by a subscript against the current symbol [7]. The Faraday (or Ah) efficiency in a
certain state of charge is defined as the ratio of the amount of charge (Ah) that can be
extracted from the battery to the amount of charge needed to restore the battery to its initial
state of charge. The energy (or Wh) efficiency in a certain state of charge equals the amount
of energy (Wh) extracted from the battery during discharge divided by the amount of energy
required to restore the battery to its initial state of charge. Both the Faraday and energy
efficiencies depend on the state of charge of the battery and on the charging and discharging
current [8]. Typical values of these efficiencies during ideal conditions depend on the kind of
battery but can be as high as 90 to 95% for the Faraday efficiency and considerably lower, 60
to 85%, for the energy efficiency [8].

Batteries have specific features that must be considered when designing PV systems as they
affect both battery life and the efficiency of the battery operation. The most prominent feature
is cycling which includes both the daily cycle, where the battery is charged during the day
and discharged by the night time load and the climatic / seasonal cycle, which is due to the
variable climatic conditions. The climatic cycle occurs anytime when the daily load exceeds
the average energy supply from the PV generator [6]. The depth of discharge associated with
the daily cycling depends only on the ratio between the night-time energy consumption
(KWh) and the battery capacity C
B
(KWh). This depth of discharge is shallow and varies
between 0.05 and 0.2. The depth of discharge and duration associated with the climatic
28

cycling depends on; the daily energy consumption (including the night), the size of the PV
generator and the local climate. This depth of discharge is deep and in order to avoid damage
to the battery, is limited to a certain maximum value DOD
MAX
lying between 0.5 and 0.8. A
charge regulator is used to control this depth of discharge such that when the set maximum
value is reached, the supply to the load is cut off. This implies that the available or useful
battery capacity C
U
is less than its nominal capacity C
B
and is equal to;
C
U
= C
B
DOD
MAX
(2.26)
The useful battery capacity can also be calculated from the empirical formula below:
F
1
U
m
C
U
F
2
U
m
(2.27)
Where U
m
is the monthly average daily energy consumption of the load and the constants F
1
and F
2
are the lower and upper limits of the storage sizing factor F
S2
. The storage sizing
factor F
S2
is the number of consecutive days without sunshine (or storage days) for which the
system is designed and depends on the location and the reliability required. For example in
Spain, the values of F
1
and F
2
for rural electrification as recommended by Lorenzo are 3 and
5 respectively.
The nominal battery capacity C
B
can then be calculated from equation (2.26).
2.7 Conclusions

Based on the literature reviewed and fact that LMIAs resource centre is connected to the
grid, there are two options of the type of PV system that can be installed at the centre: a grid
back-up system or a grid-interactive system. The grid back-up system has been considered for
this project because of being much simpler to design. This grid back-up system may be
designed as a stand-alone system supplying the load only during periods of power cuts.
Sizing of a stand-alone PV system is an important part of its design and it will be carried out
with the aid of PVSYST software. The PV modules should be inclined at an appropriate
angle to increase the amount of sunlight striking them perpendicularly and hence increase
their efficiency. A charge regulator should be used to prevent excessive discharge or
overcharge of the batteries. A DC-DC boost converter may be used to increase the output
voltage of the PV array to that required by the load and hence reduce the number of series
connected modules. An inverter will be used to convert the DC output power of the PV array
to AC, required by the load.

29

3 RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL IN KINSHASA

This chapter looks at the resources of renewable energy available in Kinshasa that can be
used to provide electricity to LMIAs resource centre.
3.1 Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is situated in Central Africa and has a tropical
climate. Figure 3.1 shows the location of DRC on a world map as well as its map. The DRC
lies on the Equator, with one-third of the country to the north and two-thirds to the south. The
capital, Kinshasa, is located 4.19
o
south of the Equator. As a result of its equatorial location,
the DRC experiences large amounts of precipitation and has the highest frequency of
thunderstorms in the world. The countrys tropical climate has produced the Congo River
system, with the second largest flow in the world, which dominates the region along with a
rainforest, the second largest in the world, through which the river flows [1]. The river and its
tributaries form the backbone of Congolese economics and transportation and have a vast
hydroelectric potential, approximately 150 GW, which remains largely untapped.

(a) (b)
Figure 3.1: (a) Location of DR Congo on the World Map (b) Map of DR Congo

Although the DRC has 60 percent of Africas hydroelectric potential, only 7 percent of the
countrys population have access to grid electricity. The grid electricity is very unreliable
with frequent load shedding so even those who are connected to the grid spend a lot of time
without electricity. This shortage of electricity is deterring the development of LMIAs
resource centre in terms of the number and quality of services it can offer such as computing
classes. This is the reason why the resource centre is looking at using a renewable energy
system to supply its electricity needs during periods when there is no grid electricity.
30

3.2 Renewable energy in Kinshasa

3.2.1 Wind energy
The annual mean wind speed in Kinshasa is 2.1 m/s. Good sites appropriate for the use of
wind energy technology should have annual mean wind speeds of around 7 m/s [2] which
implies that the wind speed at Kinshasa is too low for the use of this technology.
3.2.2 Biomass energy
There is a vast amount of biomass in DR Congo especially in the form of wood from the
tropical rainforest. Unfortunately the Congo Rainforest is one of the world's most threatened
ecosystems due to commercial logging, clearing for subsistence and plantation agriculture,
mining, hydroelectric projects and fuel wood collection for household cooking [3, 4].
Development of an energy system, at the resource centre, based on wood from the rainforest
would be aggravating the deforestation problem and would thus not be sustainable.
Information about alternative biomass resources in Kinshasa, which could fuel the energy
system at the resource centre, was not available hence eliminating the option of using
biomass for renewable energy supply at the centre.
3.2.3 Hydropower
DR Congo has 13 percent of the world's hydroelectric potential [4]. The hydroelectric
potential at a particular site can roughly be calculated using the formula;
P = H g Q (3.1)
Where;
P = available power (W)
H = water head available (m)
= water density (Kg/m
3
)
g = acceleration due to gravity (m/s
2
)
Q = water flow available (m
3
/s)
= efficiency of the power plant
From equation (1) the two parameters specific to a particular site are the water head and flow.

In Kinshasa, there is a river approximately 300 metres from the resource centre. However
information about the flow of this river and the available head was not available, hence could
not further investigate the use of hydropower for renewable energy supply at the resource
centre.


31

3.2.4 Solar energy
Because of being located very close to the Equator, 4.19
o
south, Kinshasa receives high solar
radiation with an annual average of the global daily irradiation on a horizontal surface of 4.57
kWh/m
2
day. The development of a solar energy system requires data about the amount of
solar radiation received at a site which in the case of Kinshasa is readily available.

Of all the above mentioned renewable energy resources available in Kinshasa, solar energy
was the only resource for which data could easily be obtained hence my study was focussed
on using a solar photovoltaic system at the resource centre.

In order to design the solar photovoltaic system, the following information was required from
the resource centre: daily energy consumption; technical drawings of the buildings showing
dimensions, roof structure and orientation of these buildings; objects in the surrounding that
could cause shading of PV modules, their dimensions and relative positions to the buildings.
The actual daily energy consumption at the centre was not known however a rough idea of
the appliances used was provided which were used to estimate the daily energy consumption
(section 4.1). Technical drawings of the centre and its surrounding were not available but
pictures (Figure 3.2) and a rough sketch of the plan view were availed (Figure 3.3) and these
were used to produce a plan drawing of the centre and its surroundings (Appendix 1). All the
information about the resource centre was received from Mr Theodore Menelik, Director of
MenelikEducation Ltd, via email and speaking over the telephone.


Figure 3.2: Pictures of different views of the Resource centre in Kinshasa

Another picture showing the shape of the roof on the buildings at the resource centre is
shown in appendix 1
32


Figure 3.3: Availed Sketch of the plan view of the Resource centre

Data on the rising and setting times of the sun in Kinshasa was obtained from [16] and this
data was analysed using Microsoft Excel to produce the graph shown in Figure 3.4 below.


Figure 3.4: Monthly average daily rising and setting times of the sun in Kinshasa

00:00
02:24
04:48
07:12
09:36
12:00
14:24
16:48
19:12
21:36
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
T
i
m
e

o
f

d
a
y
Month
sunrise (annual
average: 05:55)
sunset (annual
average: 18:01)
solar noon
(annual average:
11:58)
33

4 SOLAR PV SYSTEM FOR LMIAS RESOURCE CENTRE

PVSYST was used in the design of the solar PV system for Lembo-Menelik International
Academys resource centre. PVSYST is a computer software used for the study, sizing and
data analysis of complete PV systems. It deals with grid-connected, stand-alone, pumping
and DC-grid (public transport) PV systems, and includes extensive meteo and PV systems
components databases, as well as general solar energy tools. The software offers two levels of
PV system study; one level is the preliminary design and the other is the project design.

Before the design could be carried out, information about the daily energy consumption at the
resource centre was required and the determination of this information is detailed in the next
section. It is important to state here that many assumptions were made in coming up with the
daily energy consumption because data was not available. The choice of the PV system type
was also required before the design using PVSYST could be carried out.
4.1 Daily energy consumption at the Resource centre

The information received from Kinshasa was that the resource centre has 6 fridges, 4
freezers, 2 Video Cassette Recorders (VCR), 4 DVD players, and 4 televisions (TVs). In the
near future the centre is expected to acquire 50 computers, which will be used for up to 12
hours per day, and 10 printers. The centre has got 16 rooms, 13 of which have their own toilet
and bath area. It also has a restaurant, bar, internet caf, library and 5 kitchens. The total
number of the different rooms was used to estimate the number of lights in addition to
assuming that the restaurant, internet caf and library would each have two lights. A further
assumption made was that the centre had 4 security lights outside the building to come up
with the total number of lights as being 45. Assuming that the security lights are on from 7pm
till 6am (11 hours); those in the 16 rooms, restaurant, and kitchens are on from 7pm till 11pm
and then for one hour in the morning (5 hours); toilet/bathroom lights for a total of say 2
hours; bar light from say 7pm to 2am (8 hours); internet caf and library lights from 6pm to
8pm (2 hours). This gave a mean daily use of each light as 4.5 hours. As for the TVs, an
assumption was made that two of them, one in the reception area and another in the
restaurant, were on from 9am till 11pm (14 hours) while the other two, used to show films
and documentaries to students trained at the resource centre, had an average daily use of 2
hours. The mean daily use of each television then amounted to 8 hours. The TVs were all
taken to be 20 inches colour. Each printer was taken to have a mean daily use of 2 hours and
34

on stand-by for 10 hours. The stand-by consumption was taken to be 5 W per printer as
obtained from PVSYSTs appliances information. An assumption was made that 2 of the
DVD players, used to show videos in the reception area and in the restaurant, had an average
daily use of 5 hours while the other 2, used in the training sessions to show
films/documentaries, had an average daily use of 2 hours. This gave a mean daily use of each
DVD player as 3.5 hours. Finally, each VCR was assumed to have a mean daily use of 2
hours. The power ratings of all the appliances were obtained from PVSYST and [11]. The
daily energy consumption at the resource centre is shown in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1: Daily energy consumption at the Resource centre
Appliance No. Power (W/
appliance)
Mean
daily use
(h/day)
Daily
energy
(Wh)
Mean daily
use during
power cuts
(h/day)
Daily energy
during power
cuts (Wh)
lights 45 18 4.5 3645 0.8 648
TV 4 80 8 2560 3 960
Computers 50 100 12 60000 4.5 22500
Printers 10 100 2 2000 0.5 500
Fridge/freezer 10 900
Wh/day
9000 300 Wh/day 3000
Stand-by
consumers
10 5 10 500 4.5 225
VCR 2 40 2 160 1 80
DVD Player 4 35 3.5 490 1.4 196

Total
(U
m
)
78355 28109

The resource centre is connected to the national electricity grid but this grid is very weak and
as a result the centre experiences frequent power cuts and is on average without power for 6
hours per day with most of power cuts occurring during the day. There is a strong need to
have continuous electricity supply, especially during the day, to power the appliances used
for the various kinds of activities offered by the centre. This is the reason why a solar PV
system was considered to provide back-up power supply to the centre.
35

The last column of table 4.1 gives the daily energy required by the different appliances during
periods of no electricity from the grid and it is this energy that is to be supplied by the solar
PV system. The mean daily use of each appliance during power cuts was assumed relative to
their overall mean daily use taking into consideration the time of day of their operation. It
was also assumed that the power cuts last a total of 5 hours during the day and 1 hour in the
night.
4.2 Type of System

Since the resource centre is currently connected to the grid, there were two options for the
type of system; a grid back-up system, where at any one time the load is either supplied from
the grid or the PV system but not both, or a grid-interactive system where the load is supplied
by either the grid or the PV system or both and in cases of surplus power from the PV system,
this is fed to the grid. The grid back-up system was chosen for this project because of being
much simpler to design and the lack of information about the operation of DR Congos
electricity distribution networks (whether they accept the connection of distribution
generators). This grid back-up system can be designed as a stand-alone system supplying the
load only during the power cuts. The layout of the proposed grid back-up PV system at
resource centre is shown in Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1: Proposed grid back-up PV system at the resource centre

Since the PV system will be supplying a single phase AC load with a nominal voltage of
230V rms, the DC output voltage of the array should be well over the peak value of the AC
voltage waveform that is 325 V (230 2). Consider using an array output voltage of 360V,
bearing in mind the volt drops within the inverter and cables, to provide a nominal AC
voltage of 230V rms. The number of series-connected modules required to produce the 360 V
would be many for example when using 12 V modules this number would be 30. This
number seems to be rather high and may be impractical due to the cost implications and area
PV
Array
Charge
Regulator
Battery
Inverter
DC-DC
Booster
From grid
AC
loads
o
o
o
36

required for all the modules. By incorporating a DC DC boost converter in the circuit
(Figure 4.1), to step-up the array output voltage, it is possible to reduce the number of series-
connected modules. From literature the duty ratio of a DC DC boost converter should lie
between 1 and 2. Taking a duty ratio of 2 and an output voltage of the boost converter as
360V, the required array output voltage is reduced to 180V. A detailed circuit diagram of the
proposed grid back-up PV system at the resource centre is shown in Figure 4.2.

Figure 4.2: Circuit diagram of the grid back-up PV system at the resource centre

4.3 Preliminary Design of a Stand-alone PV System, at Kinshasa, using PVSYST

This is the initial pre-sizing step carried out during a project design and its aim is to give a
rough estimate of the general features of a planned PV system. In this mode, PVSYST carries
out evaluations of the expected PV system yield very quickly in monthly values, using very
few general system characteristics or parameters, without specifying actual system
components. The software also gives a rough estimate of the system cost.
4.3.1 PVSYST Preliminary design input data Procedure
The first step in the preliminary design was to specify the system type that is either a grid-
connected, stand-alone or pumping system. In this project a stand-alone system was
considered in which mode the software sizes the required PV power and battery capacity, for
a given load profile and probability that the user will not be satisfied ("Loss of Load"
probability).
The next step involved choosing a location where Kinshasa, found in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (or Zaire), was selected as the site. On selecting the site, PVSYST
automatically uploaded, from its geographical site database, various site parameters such as
Filter
360 V
180 V
I
B

I
PV

Battery
Sensing
230 V
Load
37

its geographical coordinates, and the monthly climate data that is global and diffuse
irradiation, temperature and wind velocity. The source of the climate data used by PVSYST
is meteonorm 97, a tool which uses a combination of measured data along with models of
solar geometry and climate types to produce a range of climate data for almost anywhere in
the world. The software then carried out quick meteo evaluations, known as meteo monthly
calculations, using the geographical site data to determine the horizon line and sun paths
diagram at the site. The horizon, a line created where the sky and earth appear to meet, is
used by PVSYST to describe far shading effects on the PV field and it acts in a global way
that is at any given moment the sun is either visible or not visible on the PV field. Sun path
diagrams are a convenient way of representing the motion of the Sun through the sky within a
single 2D diagram. They provide a unique summary of solar position that the designer can
refer to when considering shading requirements and design options [12].

After choosing the location, the next step was to define the system parameters such as the
collector plane orientation, and the daily energy consumption. Within the collector plane
orientation, the inclination angle of the panel to the horizontal (tilt) and its surface azimuth
angle were required. The optimum angle of inclination for fixed tilt collectors in a stand-
alone system is one that maximises the available daily irradiation during the worst month. In
the Kinshasa project, the worst month corresponds to the month with least irradiation since
the load is constant throughout the year. An angle steeper than the latitude angle is
recommended when trying to maximise the available daily irradiation during the month with
the least irradiation. Therefore a tilt angle of 10
o
, steeper than the latitude angle, was used in
this project. Another reason for the choice of this angle was the assumption that the panels
would be installed on and parallel to the existing roof of the building. The azimuth angle was
taken as 0
o
, PV plane facing due north, as this is the optimum for flat plate collectors in the
southern hemisphere in which Kinshasa is located. PVSYST has built within it an orientation
optimising tool which makes use of the monthly meteo calculations to perform quick
transpositions, convert horizontal irradiation to that incident in the collector plane, for a given
optimising period. The optimising period could be a year, winter or summer periods
depending on the planned use of the PV energy (system type). For a stand-alone system,
PVSYST carries out an orientation optimisation for the winter meteo yield. For the winter
meteo yield in Kinshasa, the global irradiation incident on the collector plane was computed
by the software as 780 kWh/m
2
with a transposition factor of 1.03 and a loss by respect to the
optimum of 0.9%.
38

The next step after defining the collector orientation was to define the daily energy
consumption to be supplied by the PV system. Within the software, this consumption could
be defined as constant either throughout the year or for the different seasons or months. In
this project the consumption was considered to be constant throughout the year as the daily
demand is expected to remain approximately constant. The number of the different
appliances to be used, their power consumption and mean daily use; were specified here. As
PVSYST does not have a built in option for including an inverter in stand-alone systems, it
was advised that the power consumption of appliances with an AC distribution be increased
by 10% to account for the inverter efficiency. In the Kinshasa Project, the resource centre is
currently connected to the grid which implies that all appliances use an AC distribution. The
power consumption of all the appliances was therefore increased by 10%. The software then
computed the total daily and monthly energy consumption as 30923 Wh/day and 927.7
kWh/month respectively.
The next and final step was to open the results in which the following parameters were
specified.
- The required autonomy, number of consecutive days without sunshine for which the
system is designed, which determines the battery pack capacity. For this project, 3 days
were considered.
- The required Loss-of-Load probability (P LOL), fraction of time during which electricity
is unavailable over the total time it is required. A 5% P LOL was considered.
- The Battery / system voltage: 180V was considered.
These parameters led to the determination of the array nominal power and battery pack
capacity as 9.5 kWp and 571 Ah respectively.
Manual sizing calculations, of the stand-alone PV system at LMIAs resource centre, were
also carried out using the procedure stipulated in section 2.6.4 and the results are in Appendix
2. The isotropic model (section 2.1.3) was used to convert solar radiation from the horizontal
to an inclined surface. The results from these manual sizing calculations were similar to those
from PVSYSTs preliminary design for example the array nominal power and battery pack
capacity from the manual calculations were 9.13 kWp and 586 Ah respectively.
A rough investment cost of the system was computed by PVSYST as GBP 89873 and the
energy price as 1.15 /kWh. Other results of the preliminary design using PVSYST are given
in Appendix 2
39

5 PROJECT DESIGN OF THE STAND-ALONE PV SYSTEM USING PVSYST

The project design option in PVSYST is aimed at performing a thorough PV-system design
and performance analysis using detailed hourly simulations. Optimisations and parameter
analysis can be performed through different simulation runs, called variants, within the
framework of a project, which essentially holds the geographical location and meteorological
hourly data of the site.
5.1 PVSYST input data Procedure
After choosing Project Design and the system type, stand-alone in this case, in the main
window, the procedure is as follows:
- First, define the Project. The stand-alone project at Kinshasa, used in the preliminary
design, was retrieved here.
- Within the same project, the software has an option that allows the construction of
different system variants. 3 system variants were constructed; each with its own PV
plane orientation (North-facing, East-facing and West-facing) but all with the same
system properties. The simulation results of the different variants were later compared to
determine the orientation that gave the best results.
- For each variant, plane orientation was then defined. PVSYST supports simulations with
eight plane orientation modes for example fixed tilted plane, seasonal tilt adjustment, two
axes tracking etc. The fixed tilted plane orientation was chosen where the definition of
the plane tilt and azimuth was required. A plane tilt of 10
o
was used for all three variants
but each with a different azimuth.
- The system properties were then defined. System definitions are primarily aimed at
defining all the PV system components necessary to fulfil the user's wishes. Parameter
definitions are different depending on the system type. In stand-alone systems, the
system definition was carried out in the following steps:
o Definition of the users needs. For the Kinshasa project, these were defined in the
same way as in the preliminary design that is a constant daily load over the year. In
addition to the daily energy consumption, the hourly distribution of the load, over the
day, was also defined (Figure 5.1). This hourly distribution was taken to be the same
over the year.
40


Figure 5.1: Hourly load profile at the resource centre during load shedding periods
o The next step required the definition of the required Loss-of-Load probability (P
LOL), autonomy and battery (system) voltage. The same values as in the preliminary
design were used. PVSYST then performed a system sizing, in a manner similar to
that done in the pre-sizing section, to determine the array nominal power and battery
pack capacity. The array nominal power in all three variants was computed to be 10.6
kWp and the battery pack capacity as 600 Ah.
o A battery model was then chosen from the softwares database. The 12V, 100Ah
Volta 6SB100 battery was chosen. The software then determined the number of
batteries in series and parallel which was 15 and 6 respectively in all three variants of
the Kinshasa project.
o A PV model choice, from the database, was then required. An 80Wp BP 380 module
was chosen. The number of modules in series and parallel was determined, by the
software, according to the battery voltage which was computed to be 12 and 11
respectively for the Kinshasa project.
o PVSYST then asked for the regulator definition. This could be chosen from the
database, with constraints specific to each commercial model (operating voltage
thresholds, input and output currents, etc ), but for the first simulations of a project the
software recommends to use the Generic Default regulator, which ensures standard
behaviour of the system regardless of regulator constraints. In this case the regulator
parameters are adjusted by default values corresponding to the actual system at the
simulation time (for example charging/discharging thresholds according to the battery
pack configuration). This way, the software does not produce compatibility warnings
which often occur when commercial models are used.
- The next step was verification of the consistency of all parameters by PVSYST; which
then produced Warnings as Orange (acceptable for simulation) or Red (preventing
simulation) LED's. When all parameters had been properly defined and hence acceptable
41

(green or orange LED's), the software gave access to the hourly simulation. Simulation
dates are based on the Meteo file dates, and can be restricted to a limited period which
for the Kinshasa project was from January to December of the year 1990.
- The simulation process involves several variables which are available as monthly tables
and graphs in the results file. This is because the software cannot store all the data in
hourly values. Data of interest to the user should be defined before the simulation, in
order to be accumulated as hourly or daily values during the simulation process.
PVSYST offers three ways for the output of detailed hourly or daily data:
o Accumulating Hourly values: the user may choose a set of variables of interest, to be
accumulated in hourly values. By default, the program chooses about ten fundamental
variables.
o Special graphs: the user can pre-define four kinds of special graphs (time evolution,
scatter plot, histogram and sorted values) for any variable in daily or hourly values.
About ten specific and usual graphs are already defined with each new simulation.
o ASCII export files: the user can choose any among the variables, to be written in daily
or hourly values on an ASCII file for exporting to another software (spreadsheet, e.g.
Microsoft Excel). The ASCII file is generated during the simulation process.
- When the simulation was completed, the Results dialogue became accessible where the
following could be obtained: A printable report which holds an exhaustive table of all
parameters used during the simulation as well as a short description of the main results;
Pre-defined tables, several tables grouped by parameter themes, of monthly results;
Custom monthly graphs, where up to four variables can be simultaneously displayed
according to ones choice; Hourly and daily plots for some pre-chosen variables; and a
detailed economic evaluation of the project can be performed while taking into account
the defined system components/parameters and simulation results.
- Simulation results for a particular variant, with all involved parameters, could then be
stored for further comparisons in a file called the project's file, with the extension .VCi (i
= 0..9, A..Z).
For a given project, the software advises to first construct a rough variant keeping all
parameters to their proposed default values. In the next variant, necessary refinements can be
made such as:
42

- In the System definition panel, the Detailed losses (temperature parameters, wiring
resistance, module quality, mismatch, soiling, IAM) can be modified. These losses affect
the available array output power with respect to its nominal power as specified by the
manufacturer at standard test conditions. The default losses were used in this project.
- A Horizon profile can be defined. The horizon is used by PVSYST to describe far
shadings effects on the PV field. Its use is limited to distant obstacles of say twenty times
the PV array size. The horizon acts on the PV field in a global way that is at any given
instant; the sun is either visible or invisible on the field. The default profile was used.
- Near shadings, that is partial shadings of near objects which affect only a part of the PV
field, can also be defined. The shaded part changes during the day and over the seasons.
Near shading calculations necessitate the construction of the exact geometry of the PV
field and its environment, in 3D-space. The near shading scene at the resource centre was
constructed using approximate dimensions because the actual ones were not provided.
The software then calculated the shading factor (ratio of the illuminated part to the total
area of the PV field) of the beam component during the day and for the different seasons.
PVSYST also calculated the shading factor for the diffuse component (as well as for the
albedo), which is independent of the suns position and therefore constant over the year.
Simulation results included shading loss calculations for Beam, Diffuse and Global
irradiation components.

Figure 5.2: North-facing PV field and its environment at LMIAs resource centre
43

Figure 5.2 shows a 3D drawing, generated using PVSYST, of the surroundings at LMIAs
resource centre and the positioning of a North-facing PV array on the roof of one of the
buildings at the centre. 3D drawings showing the resource centre and the positioning of the
other two PV array orientations (East-facing and West facing) are in Appendix 3 as well as
the procedure used in generating these drawings.
5.2 PVSYSTs Simulation Process

The simulation involves about fifty variables which are all accumulated in monthly values.
Hourly simulations are carried out in the following steps:
5.2.1 Effective incident solar energy calculation
- If only monthly meteorological data is available the software generates hourly synthetic
meteo data since numerous simulation processes have to be computed as instantaneous
values (or pseudo-instantaneous as hourly averages) such as the transposition model
which closely depends on the solar geometry. This is done by disposing of well-
established random algorithms which produce hourly distributions with statistical
properties very close to real data. The algorithm first constructs a random sequence of
daily values using a Library of Markov Transition Matrices (probability matrices);
constructed from real meteo hourly data of several dozen stations all over the world, then
it applies a time-dependent, autoregressive, Gaussian model for generating the hourly
sequences for each day.
- If the measured horizontal diffuse irradiance (D
h
) data is not available then the software
estimates it from the horizontal global irradiance using Liu and Jordans correlation
model. This model results from an experimental correlation between the diffuse to global
irradiance ratio (D/G) and the clearness index K
t
.
- The horizontal beam irradiance (B
h
) data is then computed using; G
h
= D
h
+ B
h
. The
effect of the horizon on the beam component is taken into account during the
computation. This effect is of the ON/OFF kind since at any given instant the sun is
either visible or not visible on the PV field. PVSYST assumes that the effect of the
horizon on the diffuse and albedo components is negligible and is hence not considered
in the software.
44

- Computation of the incident irradiance on the PV tilted plane is then done using a
transposition model. Transposition is the calculation of the incident irradiance on a tilted
plane from the horizontal irradiance data. PVSYST offers two transposition models; Hays
model, a classic and robust model which gives good results even when the knowledge of the
diffuse irradiance is not perfect, and the Perez Ineichen model which is a more
sophisticated model that requires well measured horizontal data (section 2.1.3). Hays model
was used in the Kinshasa Project.
At this stage the plane irradiance is composed of global, diffuse, beam and albedo
components, with the relation: G
p
= D
p
+ B
p
+ A
p.
- If near shadings have been defined, PVSYST then applies shading factors on the beam,
diffuse and albedo components. For the beam component, a shading factor has to be
established for each suns position that is every hour. The calculation of a shading factor
for each hour would spend too much computing time therefore the software uses a table
of shading factors, established as a function of the suns height and azimuth, from which
the hourly shading factor can be obtained by interpolation. PVSYST makes the following
assumptions for the calculation of the diffuse components shading factor: the diffuse
irradiance is isotropic, at any given time the shading effect on the diffuse irradiance can
be thought to be an integral of the shading factor over the visible part of the vault of
heaven (sphere between collector and horizontal planes), and finally that it is
independent of the suns position hence constant throughout the year. For the albedo
component, the software assumes that the albedo is only visible from the collectors if no
close obstacle is present till the level of the ground and hence integrates the shading
factor at zero height, over the portion of the sphere under the horizon, included between
the horizontal plane and the plane of the collector.
Diffuse and Albedo shading factors are computed from the above mentioned table of
shading factors.
- An incident angle modifier (IAM) K

is then applied to beam component to account for


the incidence effect corresponding to the weakening of the irradiation actually reaching
the PV cells surface with respect to the irradiation under normal incidence. The
weakening effect is caused by the transparent protective covering (glazing), on top of the
PV collector surface, which reduces the irradiation actually reaching the PV cells due to
reflection and absorption losses occurring within it. These losses increase as the angle of
incidence increases. They are minimum when the angle of incidence at the surface of the
45

glazing is zero (that is when sunlight strikes the glazing perpendicularly) and maximum
at an incidence angle of 90
o
. For a fixed flat-plate solar collector, the incidence angle of
solar radiation changes continually as the sun moves across the sky. In practice the
irradiation reaching the PV cells surface is measured only for normal incidence, hence
the irradiation values have to be corrected for different incidence angles using an
incident angle modifier K

. K

is evaluated using the formula;



|
.
|

\
|
= 1
cos
1
1
0
u
u
b K ; b
o
is the incident angle modifier constant and is the incidence
angle on the plane. In PVSYST a default value of b
o
= 0.05 is used but the user is free to
choose his own value.
- This finally results in the effective incident irradiance (in W / m
2
) useable for PV
conversion. The effective irradiation (in kWh / m
2
) is evaluated over a given time period.
5.2.2 Array Maximum Power Point (MPP) Virtual energy
The simulation then calculates
- The array temperature through an energy balance between the absorbed solar energy and
the energy lost in the form of heat.
- The virtual energy available at the arrays terminals when operated at its maximum
power point (MPP). The computation of this array virtual energy takes into
consideration array losses; that is thermal, wiring, module quality, mismatch and IAM
losses, but excludes other system losses such as regulator or inverter losses.
5.2.3 System energy
The next simulation stages are system dependent. For a stand-alone system, the simulation
simultaneously manages array production, Battery, and user consumption. At the meeting
point (battery terminals), all voltages are the same and simulation has to perform a current
balance. For each component, the current is a complex function of the voltage:
- PV - array: PVSYST determines a suitable operating point on the arrays I-V
characteristic, irradiation and temperature already known, while ensuring that ohmic,
module quality and mismatch losses have an effect on the actual current for a given
voltage
46

- Battery: voltage characteristics of the battery model depend on the state of charge (SOC),
temperature and current.
- Load: for any given energy demand, PVSYST determines the load current as a function
of the voltage.
Once the currents are determined, SOC and battery voltage are calculated for the end of the
time interval. In addition, the system behaviour depends on the regulation state / SOC hence
the PV-array and load could be disconnected from the battery in the following situations:
- PV-array disconnected when full battery,
- Load disconnected in case of deep battery discharge,
Due to battery voltage evolution, these operating conditions may change during the time step.
In this case the software determines the exact time when a regulator threshold condition is
met, evaluates the energies for this hour fraction, and starts again a balance loop according to
the new operating conditions.
Several variables are computed during this process: array running characteristics, battery
storage and ageing, energy use, etc. For example, the energy supplied to the user is computed
using the array output energy and/or battery energy taking into consideration losses in the
system components such as within the array, battery, regulator, and converter (if included).
PVSYST computes the missing energy by subtracting the energy supplied to the user from
the energy demand of the user, determined from the input data.
The Probability of Loss-of-Load (P LOL) is calculated using a simplified and fast yearly
simulation. The software first splits monthly meteo values into a realistic random sequence of
365 days (according to Collares- Pereira model), each day being divided into 3 periods
(morning, day and evening), then performs a day-by-day balance and finally reports the daily
system state in order to accumulate a realistic P LOL yearly value. This process is repeated
with different PV-array sizes in order to find the exact PV size matching the required LOL
probability.

Figure 5.3 shows an outline of a project's organisation and simulation process in PVSYST.
47



Figure 5.3: An outline of a project's organisation and simulation process in PVSYST
Shading factor for beam component: "linear" or according to modules
Shading factor for diffuse: spherical integral of the "linear" shading factor
Simulation variant
(Many simulation variants may be defined for a given project)
Far shadings (Horizon definition)
The far shadings affect the whole field at a time
Near shadings (partial shadings on the field)
Shading of near objects require a detailed 3D description of the system
Hourly meteo measurements
Generation of
synthetic hourly values
Project
Specification of the site (geographic coordinates)
Hourly meteorological data
(Reference Year, TMY, Satellight)
Monthly meteorological data
(Sites database)
Simulation of the system (by hourly steps)
Results for a simulation version:
Customised Tables, monthly, daily and hourly graphs. - Detailed Loss diagram
ASCII export file.
Complete engineer report - Economical evaluation
User's load
Constant, monthly or daily profiles, or custom file data
Necessary for Stand-alone and Pumping systems sizing
(Optional for Grid-connected)
System
Grid-connected, Stand-alone, Pumping, DC-Grid
Choice of the components and configuration
PV array
Choice of PV modules (library)
Number and interconnections of modules
Specification of Losses (In a second step) :
Module quality, Mismatch, Thermal, Wiring resistance, Incidence angle (IAM)
Incident irradiance in the collector plane:
Transposition from horizontal values to the collector plane
(fixed plane, tracking 1 or 2 axes, seasonal adjusment, heterogeneous fields)
If "infinite" sheds or sun-shields: mutual shadings calculation
(Custom, horiz. or in coll. plane)
Hourly meteorological data
Eventually Meteorological corrections (Albedo, Altitude, etc)
48

6 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

This section involves discussion of the results from PVSYSTs Project Design. Three
different orientations of the PV array, on the roof of the resource centre, were investigated in
order to determine the optimum orientation for the specified load. Figures 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3
show annual loss diagrams for the three orientations.


Figure 6.1: Annual loss diagram for the North-facing PV array

From figures 6.1 to 6.3, it can be observed that the loss from converting the horizontal global
irradiation to the global irradiation incident in the collector plane is the same for the North
and West-facing arrays (0.8%) whereas for the East-facing array this loss is higher (1%).
From literature, fixed flat plate collectors should face the direction of the Equator and since in
many places the afternoons are often sunnier than the mornings, it is advised to make
modules face slightly west of the direct line to the Equator. It may be the case that Kinshasa
is sunnier in the afternoons than the mornings hence resulting in the above loss being the
same for the North and West- facing arrays. However, mainly due to shading from the nearby
trees, the effective irradiation incident on the North-facing PV array (1587 kWh/m
2
) is less
than that on the West (1600 kWh/m
2
) and East (1593 kWh/m
2
) facing PV arrays. This results
into a lower PV energy conversion by the North-facing array of 16890 kWh as compared to
17021 kWh and 16949 kWh from the West and East-facing arrays respectively.
49


Figure 6.2: Annual loss diagram for West-facing PV array

Figure 6.3: Annual loss diagram for East-facing PV Array
50

In spite of the fact that the North-facing array has a lower PV energy conversion, it delivers
the most energy (10991 kWh) to the user compared to the other two orientations and
therefore has the least missing energy (295.8 kWh) that is when the user is not supplied by
the PV system. This is mainly because the losses associated with battery efficiency (4.6%),
unused energy (full battery) (6.2%) and those with respect to MPP running (1.1%) are lower
in the North-facing PV array system than in the other two orientations. Because of delivering
more energy to the user and hence having the least missing energy, the North-facing array
orientation was chosen as the optimum for LMIAs resource centre. Therefore all the results
that follow are based on the North-facing PV array.
6.1 Results of the North-facing array orientation

The global irradiation on a horizontal surface was converted into irradiation received by a PV
array at an inclined orientation, 10
o
, and this was then corrected for the shading loss and the
results are shown in Figure 6.4.


Figure 6.4: Monthly average daily global irradiation on a horizontal and inclined surface

From literature, the reason why flat-plate solar collectors are placed at an inclination is to
increase the amount of sunlight striking them perpendicularly and hence increase their
conversion efficiency. The optimum angle of inclination for fixed tilt collectors depends
mainly on the latitude and the type of system and for a stand-alone system this angle should
be one that maximises the available daily irradiation during the worst month which in our
case corresponds to the month with least irradiation since the load is constant throughout the
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
J
a
n
u
a
r
y
F
e
b
r
u
a
r
y
M
a
r
c
h
A
p
r
i
l
M
a
y
J
u
n
e
J
u
l
y
A
u
g
u
s
t
S
e
p
t
e
m
b
e
r
O
c
t
o
b
e
r
N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r
D
e
c
e
m
b
e
r
I
r
r
a
d
i
a
t
i
o
n

(
k
W
h
/
m
2
.
d
a
y
)
Month
Horizontal global
irradiation (annual
average 4.585
kWh/m2.day)
Global incident in
Collector plane (annual
average 4.549
kWh/m2.day)
Global corrected for
shading loss (annual
average 4.507
kWh/m2.day)
51

year. For the stand-alone system at Kinshasa, an inclination greater than the latitude angle
was used which results in more irradiation incident on the collector plane than that on the
horizontal for the months of April to September (Figure 6.4) that is the period with least
global irradiation. It can be observed from Figure 6.4 that there is a small difference between
the annual average daily horizontal global irradiation (4.585 kWh/m2.day) and the global
irradiation incident in the collector plane (4.549 kWh/m
2
.day). This is because Kinshasa is
located very close to the Equator (4.19
o
S) and hence the chosen inclination (10
o
) which is
relatively small hence resulting in almost the same irradiation on the horizontal and the
inclined plane. Figure 6.5 shows an optimisation of the plane tilt and orientation/azimuth
produced by PVSYST. The round spot shows the chosen angle in this project. It can be
observed that the chosen plane azimuth of 0
o
is the optimum while the plane tilt (10
o
) is just
below the optimum (approx 20
o
). However the loss with respect to the optimum tilt is small
(0.9%) and is therefore acceptable.


Figure 6.5: Optimisation of the Plane tilt and orientation
The resource centre has several trees in its surroundings and these could cause shading on
parts of the PV array. The effect of partial shading on a PV generator is that it can cause the
hot-spot effect, described in literature review, which can degrade the performance of the
generator. Although in practice bypass diodes are used to alleviate this effect, there is still
energy lost due to less irradiation present for PV conversion due to partial shading.
PVSYSTs simulation results for the global irradiation corrected for shading loss are shown
in Figure 6.4 above. It can be observed that the energy lost due to shading of the PV array by
its surroundings is very small; only about 0.9% of the global incident irradiation in the
collector plane, calculated on an annual basis.

The hottest month in Kinshasa is March with an average temperature of 27.1
o
C. The
operating temperatures of the PV modules during this month are shown in the graph below.

52


Figure 6.6: A graph showing the ambient and module temperatures during the month of
March.
From the above graph it can be observed that the maximum module temperature during the
hottest month, March, is just over 50
o
C. From literature we know that the module
temperature significantly affects its open-circuit voltage and hence the maximum power that
it can deliver. However if the operating voltage of a module remains in the linear part of the I
V characteristic, temperature will have little effect on its power output and the power
delivered to the load will be proportional to the short-circuit current and thus also to the
irradiance. The operating voltage of the BP 380J modules is 15V. At a temperature of 50
o
C,
the voltage at the maximum power point of the BP 380J module is 15.6V [17]. This implies
that an operating voltage of 15V is in the linear part of the modules I V characteristic and
thus temperature will have a relatively small effect on its power output as can also be
observed from Figure 6.1 where the loss due to temperature is 8.4% of the converted energy.

Figure 6.7 is a graph showing the monthly effective array output energy, energy delivered to
the user/load and unused energy (full battery) loss. It can be observed that the energy
supplied to the load is less than the effective array output energy by approximately 6.9% on
an annual basis. This is mainly because of the losses within the battery as shown in the loss
diagram in Figure 6.1. The energy lost by the PV system due to the batteries being full, PV
array disconnected, is 6.2% of the converted solar energy on an annual basis.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
1 6 11 16 21 26 31
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
s

c
e
l
s
i
u
s
)
Day of the Month
Ambient
temperature
(Average: 27.1
oC)
Module
Temperature
(Average:
41.62 oC)
53


Figure 6.7: Monthly effective array output energy, energy supplied to user and unused energy
loss

The efficiency of the PV generator system (energy supplied to user / horizontal global
irradiation incident on the collector) is only 7.6% because of the various losses shown in
Figure 6.1. The energy supplied to the load is 97.4% of the energy required by the load
leaving the remaining 2.6% to be met from somewhere else. Since the resource centre
currently has a diesel generator, this can be used to supply this energy balance. The capacity
of the generator is not known but the information I was given is that it is currently used to
providing lighting, when load shedding occurs at night, and it can run at full capacity for 7
hours. From the table of daily energy consumption at the resource centre, I assumed that there
were 45 lights of 18 W each. Therefore if the generator can power all these lights at the same
time then its rating could be approximately 850 W and the energy it can produce when run
continuously for 7 hours is 5950 Wh. The monthly average daily distribution of missing
energy and duration of loss-of-load are given in the Table 6.1 below.












0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
J
a
n
u
a
r
y
F
e
b
r
u
a
r
y
M
a
r
c
h
A
p
r
i
l
M
a
y
J
u
n
e
J
u
l
y
A
u
g
u
s
t
S
e
p
t
e
m
b
e
r
O
c
t
o
b
e
r
N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r
D
e
c
e
m
b
e
r
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
k
W
h
)
Month
Effective energy at output
of array (Total annual
energy: 11811 kWh)
Energy supplied to the
load (Total annual energy:
10991 kWh)
Unused energy (full
battery) loss (Total annual
energy: 1040 kWh)
54

Table 6.1: Monthly average daily missing energy and duration of loss-of-load

Missing energy
(Wh/day)
Duration of loss-of-load
(h : min) per day
Power required from
generator (W)
January 0.3 0:21 0.8
February 4.1 0:30 8.2
March 4.3 0:56 4.6
April 3 1:12 2.5
May 0.2 0:48 0.2
June 4308 3:14 1335.8
July 3178 2:56 1080.6
August 2202 1:40 1325.7
September 0 0:00 0.0
October 4.4 0:39 6.8
November 7.3 0:18 24.3
December 0.4 0:06 4.1

The last column was computed by dividing the first by the second to come up with the power
that would be needed from the generator to supply the missing energy. It can be observed that
in all the months apart from June, July and August, the power required can readily be
supplied by the available diesel generator. The values in the above table are just averages
over each month. The actual daily missing energy and duration of loss-of load are higher on
some days than others. However I observed that the missing energy in all the days of the
year, apart from a few days in the months of June, July and August, was never more than 0.4
kWh/day and likewise the duration of loss-of load was always less than 4 h/day. These values
show that the missing energy can be supplied by the diesel generator in most of the months.
However in the months of June, July and August, there are some days when the load is not
supplied at all by the PV generator system and in these days, the diesel generator is not able
to meet all the demand. But since the resource centre is connected to the grid; grid electricity
could be used, on these days, to charge the batteries when available for use during load
shedding periods. This option has not been considered in this project and therefore requires
further study to determine whether it is viable.

The total annual duration of loss-of-load was simulated by PVSYST to be 386.4 hours that is
4.4% of the time in a year (8760 hours).

55

7 ECONOMIC EVALUATION

The major obstacle to widespread use of PV is currently the high capital and installation costs
of the system. Owing to the absence of moving parts and to the simplicity and reliability of
PV systems, operating and maintenance costs can be very low if the lifetime is long enough.
There are also no fuel costs when using PV.
7.1 Capital costs of the major system components

PV module prices have fallen sharply during the past two decades, as the global market grew,
from US$ 30 / Wp in 1975 to US$ 3 / Wp today [13]. In Africa, PV module prices range from
US$ 6 to 10 per Wp [14]. The information received from Kinshasa is that there are currently
no companies selling solar panels hence all panels have to be imported from other countries.
Taking the above information into account, the module price for the Kinshasa project was
taken as US$ 10 / Wp. Therefore for an 80 Wp module the cost would be US$ 800. The cost
of a 100 Ah deep cycle lead-acid battery, suitable for PV applications, is US$ 200 [14]. At
the resource centre 90 batteries, each with 100 Ah storage capacity, will be required giving
the total cost of the batteries as US$ 18000. Currently inverter costs range from 0.5 Euro/Wp
(large system) to 0.8 Euro/Wp (small system) [15]. Taking the 10.6 kWp system at Kinshasa
as relatively small, the inverter cost used was 0.8 Euro/Wp giving a total cost for the inverter
required by the PV system at the resource centre as 8480 Euros. An assumption was made
that the costs of the Charge regulator and the DC-DC boost converter were approximately the
same as the inverter cost.
7.2 Operation and Maintenance cost

The operation and maintenance cost in a PV system is mainly associated with the storage
batteries which require frequent checking of the electrolytes and topping up with distilled
water. This cost lies between 5 10% of the PV systems annual cost. An additional cost is
involved due to the periodic replacement of batteries. This is because the lifetime of storage
batteries lies between 3 and 5 years [14].

The economic evaluation for the PV system at the resource centre was carried out in
PVSYST. The currency used for the evaluation was Euros and the conversion rate from US
dollars to Euros used was 1 US$ = 0.7114 Euros
56

7.3 Economic evaluation in PVSYST

After simulation, an economic evaluation of the system was performed on the basis of the
defined parameters and the simulation results. The special economic tool was accessible in
the Results dialog. Costs could be defined globally, by pieces, by installed peak watts or by
m. The cost per piece was used in this evaluation. Any currency could be used and the
conversion from one currency to another was also possible. The Euro was used in this case.

The procedure for the economic evaluation was as follows:
- The first step was calculation of the investment. The number and type of system
components (PV modules, converters, batteries, etc.) were automatically updated from
the simulation parameters. Prices were then defined for each component using the values
described before. After defining the component prices, PVSYST calculated the gross
investment excluding taxes. The net investment, for the owner, was derived from the
gross investment by adding a tax percentage (VAT) taken as 18%. The DRC does not
have Value Added Tax (VAT) at present but is in the process of introducing it [18]. The
18% VAT rate was chosen because of being the rate in DRCs neighbouring countries
such as Uganda and the Republic of Congo.
- By choosing a loan duration, which PVSYST took to correspond to the expected lifetime
of the system, and an interest rate the software computed the annual financial cost,
assuming the loan pay back as constant annuities. The expected lifetime of the system
was taken as 20 years [7] and the interest rate as 5%.
- The next step was determination of the running costs which depended on the system
type. For a stand-alone system, a provision for the maintenance and periodical
replacement of the batteries was added. The running costs were taken as 5% the annual
financial cost plus a battery replacement cost of 2320 Euro/year (set by PVSYST). This
last contribution was calculated through simulation as a function of the expected lifetime
of the battery pack taken as 5.5 years by the software.
The total annual cost was then determined as the sum of the annuities and running costs. This
total annual cost divided by the effectively produced and used energy gave an evaluation of
the energy cost (price per used kWh).


57

The results of this economic evaluation are shown in Figure 7.1.


Figure 7.1: Economic evaluation of proposed PV system at the resource centre

58

8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
8.1 Conclusions

- Lembo-Menelik International Academy has a desire to improve the quality of services it
offers at its resource centre and hence attract more customers but the frequent load
shedding experienced, due to a weak electricity grid in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, is making it difficult for LMIA to achieve this goal. The Democratic Republic of
Congo is rich in renewable energy resources such as Biomass, Hydro and Solar;
therefore LMIA is interested in using a renewable energy system to supplement grid
electricity hence ensuring a reliable electricity supply at the centre.
- The biomass mainly comes from the tropical rainforest that covers a large part of the
country. However this forest is currently under threat due to too much deforestation.
Therefore the use of biomass from the forest, for renewable energy supply of Lembo-
Menelik International Academys resource centre, was ruled out in order not to aggravate
the deforestation problem. Data about other biomass resources in the country was not
available hence eliminating the biomass option.
- The Congo River, with the second largest flow in the world, has a vast hydroelectric
potential. Part of this river flows 300 metres from the resource centre however
information about the flow and available head in this part, essential for hydropower
design, was not available hence eliminating this option.
- Being located close to the equator (4.19
o
S), Kinshasa receives a lot of solar radiation
with an annual average daily global irradiation on a horizontal surface of 4.57
kWh/m
2
day. Solar data for Kinshasa was readily available hence a solar PV system was
deemed the most appropriate to supply the energy needs of the resource centre. The
approximate total energy demand at the centre is 78355 Wh/day and that required when
there is no grid electricity is 28109 Wh/day. The PV system was designed to meet the
latter energy demand.
- The resource centre is currently connected to the countrys electricity grid therefore a
grid back-up solar PV system was proposed, with a nominal capacity of the PV array of
10.6 kWp and a nominal battery capacity of 600 Ah, to supply the load at the centre
during periods when there is no grid electricity.
59

- The above solar PV system will have a 4.4% loss-of load probability in a year that is the
time when the load is not supplied by the system. During the periods of loss-of load the
diesel generator, present at the resource centre, can be used to supply the missing energy
during most days of the year apart from a few days in the months of June, July and
August.
- The net investment cost of the proposed solar PV system will be approximately 118647
Euros. This money can be obtained through a loan payable over a period 20 years, the
lifetime of the system, with annual payments of 9521 Euros.
8.2 Recommendations

- To accurately size the solar PV system, more information about the appliances, their
ratings, the period and duration of operation is required in order to determine the actual
daily energy consumption and its hourly distribution.
- More detailed information about the periods of load shedding and their duration is
required to more accurately simulate when the solar PV system is required and the
energy it is required to supply.
- The actual dimensions of the buildings and surrounding objects at the resource centre
and their relative distances is required to more accurately define the shading scene and
hence the shading loss.
- Further research could be carried out to determine the applicability of a grid-interactive
solar PV system where electricity can be sold to the grid and grid electricity used to
charge the batteries in periods of low or no solar radiation.
- Further research could also be carried out to determine the possibility of using the back-
up generator, present at the resource centre or a different one, to charge the batteries
during periods of low or no solar radiation.
- If more data can be obtained about the biomass and hydropower options, another study
should be carried out to determine the most feasible option, of the three renewable
energy sources that is solar, biomass and hydro or even a combination of sources; to
supply the resource centre.


60

9 REFERENCES

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo accessed on 28/07/09
2. K. Fragaki, Lecture notes on Wind Energy Basics, Durham University, 2009
3. http://rainforests.mongabay.com/congo/deforestation.html accessed on 28/07/09
4. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRICA/Resources/Congo_DRC_Country_Note.
pdf accessed on 28/07/09
5. J A Duffie and W A Beckman, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, 3
rd
Edition,
John Wiley and Sons, New Jersey, USA, 2006.
6. T. Markvart (ed), Solar Electricity, Second Edition, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester,
England, 2000.
7. E. Lorenzo et al., Solar Electricity. Engineering of Photovoltaic Systems, Progensa,
Spain, 1994.
8. R. J. Van Overstraeten and R. P. Mertens, Physics, Technology and Use of Photovoltaics,
Adam Hilger, Bristol, 1986.
9. Fred C Treble, Generating Electricity from the Sun, Pergamon Press, Oxford, England,
1991.
10. K. Mahkamov, Lecture notes on Solar PV systems, Durham University, 2008.
11. http://www.green-trust.org/2003/pvsizing/default.htm accessed on 24/06/09
12. http://squ1.org/wiki/Sun_Path_Diagram accessed on 22/06/09
13. http://practicalaction.org/practicalanswers/product_info.php?products_id=194 accessed
on 30/06/09
14. http://imfundo.digitalbrain.com/imfundo/web/plan/documents/kb12/kb12.doc?verb=view
accessed on 30/06/09
15. http://www.leonardo-energy.org/cost-development-pv-energy accessed on 30/06/09
16. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=121&month=1&year=2009
&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1 accessed on 07/08/09
17. http://www.becosolar.com/documents/BP380J.pdf accessed on 25/06/09
18. http://www.gfip.org/storage/gfip/documents/capital%20flight%20from%20drc.pdf
accessed on 11/08/09

61

APPENDICES

Appendix 1: Picture and plan view of the resource centre


The yellow
building in this
picture was said to
have the same roof
as that on resource
centres building
and was therefore
used to come up
with the roof
shape and tilt on
the buildings of
the resource
centre.

This is a sketch of
the plan view of the
resource centre and
its surroundings
which I drew from
the pictures,
drawing and other
information
received.
62

Appendix 2: Preliminary Design of the stand-alone system at LMIAs resource centre



PVSYST Preliminary design main results

63


Horizon Line for Kinshasa


Sun path diagram at Kinshasa

Manual Sizing calculations of the stand-alone PV system at the resource centre using
the intuitive method

Determination of the daily energy use
The daily energy consumption shown in Table 4.1 was used where Um = 78355 Wh /day for
a stand-alone PV system that supplies all the energy needs at the resource centre and U
m
=
28109 Wh /day for a stand-alone PV system acting as a grid back-up that is supplying the
load only during periods of power cuts.

Determination of the solar energy input
The graph below shows the monthly average daily global and diffuse irradiation on a
horizontal surface in Kinshasa. It can be observed, from the graph, that the irradiation does
64

not vary too much throughout the year therefore I considered the yearly average daily
irradiation in my computation of the solar energy input. The irradiation on a horizontal
surface must be converted into that received by a PV panel at an inclined orientation which in
this case was taken to be 10
o
. An inclination of 10
o
was chosen because I assumed the PV
modules would be installed on the roofs of the buildings at the resource centre, whose pitch
angle is 10
o
. An inclination close to the latitude angle at Kinshasa (4.19
o
) would have been
adequate but due to purposes of self-cleaning of the modules and the need maximise the daily
irradiation during the month with least sunshine, a slightly steeper inclination of 10
o
was
chosen.

The isotropic model was used for the conversion to the inclined surface. Therefore;
Yearly average global daily irradiation on a horizontal surface, G = 4.57 kWh/m
2
day
Yearly average diffuse daily irradiation on a horizontal surface, D = 2.46 kWh/m
2
day
Inclination angle of the PV plane to the horizontal, = 10
o

Yearly average beam daily irradiation on a horizontal surface, B = G D = 2.11 kWh/m
2
day
= geographical latitude of the location = 4.19
o

The beam irradiation on an inclined surface is calculated using the following equation:
B () = B
cos + + +
+
for the southern hemisphere
Where is the declination angle at solar noon and calculated using the equation below;
= 23.45 sin360
284+

365
; d
n
is the number of the day in the year
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. MayJune July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
I
r
r
a
d
i
a
t
i
o
n

(
k
W
h
/
m
2
.
d
a
y
)
Month
Monthly Average Daily Irradiation on a Horizontal surface
in Kinshasa
Horizontal Global
Irradiation
Horizontal
Diffuse
Irradiation
65

d
n
= 172 for the 21
st
of June
= 23.45
o

= hour angle and is equal to zero at solar noon
Therefore the beam irradiation at solar noon on a surface inclined at 10
o
to the horizontal is;
B (10
o
) = 1.9499 kWh/m
2
day
The diffuse irradiation on an inclined surface is calculated using the isotropic model as;
D () =
1
2
(1 + cos ) D
Therefore D (10
o
) = 2.4413 kWh/m
2
day
The albedo irradiation on the inclined surface is calculated using the equation below.
R () =
1
2
(1 cos ) G; where is the ground reflectance of the total solar radiation and as
a rule of thumb is usually taken as 0.2. Therefore;
R (10
o
) = 0.006943 kWh/m
2
day
The total solar irradiation on the inclined surface is then equal to;
G () = B () + D () + R ()
G (10
o
) = 4.3981 kWh/m
2
day
Therefore Peak Solar Hours (PSH) = 4.3981 h/day

PVSYST uses Hays model to convert the irradiation falling on a horizontal surface to that
received on an inclined PV plane and for PV panels inclined at 10
o
to the horizontal, in
Kinshasa, the yearly average total daily irradiation on the inclined plane is 4.5 kWh/m
2
day
which is also equal to 4.5 h/day in terms of peak solar hours.

Determination of the PV generator size
The minimum generator size in peak watts (P
c
) necessary to mean the daily energy
consumption (U
m
) was calculated using the equation below.
P
c
=
U
m
PSH
; where is the efficiency factor which takes into account losses in the array,
battery and inverter. In the above equation it is assumed that the PV generator operates at its
maximum power point for simplification purposes. The energy loss in the inverter was
assumed to be 15% and a further 5% allowed for losses in the array, including the effects of
dust and shading. Assuming that 60% of the load is met using the solar irradiation available
during the day, leaving 40% to be supplied from the battery. Therefore the overall battery
loss, for a battery with an energy efficiency of 75%, is 25% X 40% = 10%. A batterys
energy efficiency in a certain state of charge equals the amount of energy extracted from the
66

battery during discharge divided by the amount of energy required to restore the battery to its
initial state of charge. The total losses are therefore 30% giving an efficiency of 70%.
Therefore the minimum generator size (Pc) for a stand-alone solar PV system at the resource
centre in Kinshasa is approximately 25451 peak watts while that for a grid back-up solar PV
system is approximately 9130 peak watts.

From PVSYSTs preliminary design, the minimum generator size for the stand-alone system
was 27088 peak watts while that for the grid back-up system was 10656 peak watts.

Determination of the number of series-connected modules
The number of modules N
s
to be connected in a series string is determined by the DC
operating bus bar voltage V
DC
of the system according to the equation: N
s
=
V
DC
V
m
; where V
m

is the operating voltage of one module. As the PV generator system will be supplying a single
phase AC load with a nominal voltage of 230V rms, the DC output voltage of the array would
have to be well over the peak value of the AC voltage waveform that is 325 V (230 2).
Therefore a V
DC
of 360V was considered, bearing in mind the volt drops within the inverter
and cables, in order to provide a nominal AC voltage of 230V rms. V
m
was determined
considering an 80 peak watt module with the following characteristics.

Typical Electrical Characteristics of BP 380J module at
standard conditions
[http://www.becosolar.com/documents/BP380J.pdf
accessed on 25/06/09]
Nominal Peak Power (P
max
) 80 W
Voltage at maximum power
(V
mp
)
17.6 V
Current at maximum power
(I
mp
)
4.55A
Warranted minimum P
max
76 W
Short-circuit current (I
sc
) 4.8A
Open-circuit Voltage (V
oc
) 22.1V
Temperature coefficient of lsc (0.0650.015)%/C
Temperature coefficient of Voc (8010)mV/C
67

Temperature coefficient of
Power
(0.50.05)%/C
NOCT 472C
Maximum series fuse rating 20A
Maximum System Voltage 600V

The mean ambient temperature in Kinshasa is shown in the table below
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Ambient
Temp.
(
o
C)
26.0 26.6 27.1 26.6 26.0 23.8 22.7 23.8 25.5 26.0 26.0 26.0

From the above table it can be seen that the maximum ambient temperature T
a
is 27.1
o
C. The
operating cell temperature T
c
of the above module at T
a
= 27.1
o
C and G = 1 kW/m
2
is given
by:
T
c
T
a
=
20
0.8

Therefore, T
c
= 60.85
o
C, for NOCT = 47
o
C, and this the maximum temperature at which the
cells will operate. From the I V performance curves of the BP 380J module, at 1000 W/m
2

and 60.85
o
C, the module gives its maximum power at about 14.7V. Therefore a suitable
operating voltage V
m
, bearing in mind the 10% tolerance on module output, is 13V.

At this voltage, the number of series-connected modules for a DC bus voltage of 360 is 28.
This number seems to be rather high and may be impractical due to the cost implications and
area required for all the modules. By incorporating a DC DC boost converter in the circuit,
to step-up the arrays output voltage, it is possible to reduce the number of series-connected
modules. The duty ratio of a DC DC boost converter should lie between 1 and 2. Taking the
duty ratio as 2 and the output voltage of the boost converter as 360V, the required array
output voltage is reduced to 180V. At a V
DC
of 180V the number of series-connected
modules would be 14.

Determination of the number of parallel strings
The number of parallel strings N
p
is determined by the current required by the load from the
generator. The nominal current I
PV
produced by a photovoltaic generator operating at peak
power P
c
can be calculated from the equation;
68

P
c
=
U
m
PSH
= I
PV
V
DC
;
Therefore for a stand-alone solar PV system at Kinshasa with P
c
= 25451 W and V
DC
= 180V,
I
PV
= 141.3944 A; whereas for a grid back-up system with P
c
= 9130 W and V
DC
= 180V, I
PV

= 50.7222 A.

The number of parallel strings is then calculated from the equation;
N
p
= (SF)
I
PV
I
m

Where I
m
is the current supplied by an individual photovoltaic module at the operating
voltage V
m
when illuminated under standard conditions and SF is a sizing factor which is
introduced to oversize the amount of current available from the array. The current I
m
supplied
by the BP 380J module at V
m
= 13V and 1000 W/m
2
is 4.8 A.
Therefore, for a stand-alone solar PV system at Kinshasa with V
DC
= 180V and I
PV
=
141.3944 A, the number of parallel strings is 30 with an effective SF of 1.018; whereas for a
grid back-up system with V
DC
= 180V and I
PV
= 50.7222 A, the number of parallel strings is
11 with an effective SF of 1.041.

Determination of the battery size
The nominal battery capacity, C
B
, is calculated using C
U
= C
B
DOD
MAX
; where C
U
is the
useful battery capacity and DOD
MAX
is the maximum permissible depth of discharge of the
battery. The useful battery capacity is calculated from the empirical formula: F
1
U
m
C
U

F
2
U
m
; where F
1
and F
2
are the lower and upper limits of the storage sizing factor F
S2
. The
storage sizing factor F
S2
is the number of consecutive days without sunshine (or storage days)
for which the system is designed and depends on the location and the reliability required.
Considering F
S2
to be 3 days and DOD
MAX
to be 80%, then the nominal battery capacity for a
stand-alone solar PV system will be 294 kWh while that for a grid back-up system will be
105 kWh. For a V
DC
of 180V this is equivalent to 1633 Ah, for the stand-alone system, and
586 Ah for the grid back-up system.

From PVSYSTs preliminary design, the nominal battery capacity for the stand-alone system
with a V
DC
of 180V was 1447 Ah whereas that for a grid back-up system was 571 Ah.

69

Appendix 3: Construction of the Near shading scene in PVSYST
The global scene of the PV system is built by assembling parameterised elements available in
PVSYSTs objects library (Menu "Create"; shown in the figure below) that is:
- Five kinds of PV planes: rectangular, polygonal, in "sheds", sunshields and tracking,
- Elementary objects (a variety of 2D an 3D predefined shapes),
- Building / Composed object: an assembly of elementary shapes. Buildings can be saved
as models for reuse in other shading scenes. They cant include PV fields, which should be
added independently in the global scene.


PVSYST proposes a library of elementary shapes, basic or usual in architecture:
- 2D shapes: Triangles (whatever, isosceles or rectangle), rectangles, trapezium, regular
polygon, pseudo-circle sectors.
- 3D shapes: Parallelepiped, square pyramid, triangular, hexagonal or octagonal prism,
portion of cylinder.
- Building elements: House + 2-sided roof, Tree, Roof-like Deidre, 2-sided roof + gables, 4-
sided roof, prism chimney.
70

The Elementary object dialog allows building one elementary object at a time in its own
referential. The user chooses the shape, size and colour of each elementary object. The
elementary object is then positioned in the global scene or in a building element.
Although elementary
objects can be readily
integrated in a global
scene, PVSYST allows
the assembly of several
elementary objects to
build a more complex
object (for example a
complete building), in the
Building/Composed
objects dialog, which can
be manipulated as a
whole in the global scene. The construction takes place in a secondary perspective view
similar to the global scene construction as shown in the figure below.

71

The upper tool bar (blue icons), shown in the previous figure, provides means for defining the
observer's point of view (perspective or orthogonal - top, front and side - views) and the
Zoom. There is another icon, to the right of the zoom icons, which allows switching between
the realistic view and the technical view of the construction. Colours defined for each
elementary object are shown in the realistic view. The left tool bar, in the previous figure,
gives access to the following actions on the system and its components:
- Undo allows retrieving of up to ten last operations
- Copy creates a copy of the selected object (Each object can be selected by clicking on it. A
selected object becomes purple); this copy is kept "permanently" and may be passed to
another scene.
- Paste allows pasting the copied object
- Delete removes the selected object
- Modify opens a dialog for modifying the selected object in its own referential. Double-
clicking an object also opens its modification dialog.
- Position allows the editing of the position and orientation of the selected object.
- Rotate the whole scene: very useful tool which allows building the scene in its natural
referential (parallel to the building according to architect's plans), and then rotate the
whole scene according to the cardinal points.
- Measurement tools allow to easily get real distances and angle measurements between
points of the scene.
- Shadows drawing: with completed shading scene, allows visualising the shadows on PV
planes for any sun position or time-of-year.
- Shadows animation: sweeps the sun position every 15 minutes over a given day. Shows
the shadings and draws the shading loss evolution, gives the overall loss on beam
component over the whole day.

For this project, I used the Building / composed object dialog to construct the environment at
the resource centre which was then integrated into the global scene where rectangular PV
planes where added.


72
The figures below show the realistic views of the near shading scene for the west-facing and
east-facing PV fields at LMIAs resource centre.
West-facing PV array and its surrounding shading scene
East-facing PV array and its surrounding shading scene