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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Comparative review of design criteria for multimegawatt PV plants


The purpose of this study is to compare and analyse the design criteria for multi-megawatt PhotoVoltaic plants, with the aim of optimizing the BOS (balance of system) design practices through the best technical-economic choices.

This project resulted in the identification of many technology development issues. It concluded that the whole area of DC and AC circuit grounding must be reviewed, consolidated and standardised. To ensure initial module matching, quality control and degradation determination, the nameplate on each PV module should list representative data, including actual test data at two sets of operating conditions.

A systematic approach to the sizing of the inverter, and in general for all utility interface criteria, is currently lacking. This, and especially inverter power quality, should be standardised. On-site and off-site monitoring in near real-time is critically important, as is monitoring criteria for large central PV plants. It is also concluded that, generally the pre-assembly of PV panels improves the projects overall costs. The current lack of widely accepted standards for array grounding and lightning protection is still a major problem for large and utility-scale PV applications.
The goal is to facilitate the wider use of PV as a viable renewable energy option for generating electric power. The study will address systems with a capacity on the order of 1 MW or larger (up to 10 MWp). A key objective is to provide details and recommendations on criteria and practices for design, hardware procurement, installation, test, and operational aspects. The scope of this study is confined to the array field, balance of system (BOS), safety, and quality control. The basic approach is to produce design criteria and practices for multi-MW, grid-connected PV plants. The key issues and topics will first be identified by the collaborators who are familiar with the problems of designing, installing, and operating large PV plants.
Study topics will include: site selection and preparation; grid requirements; safety; PV plant layout; array field electrical circuit design; module and panel design; d.c. electrical circuit hardware and installation; array field layout; installation of structures and panels/modules; support structures/foundation design and materials; site and structure grounding; fault detection and protection; power conditioning; utility interface design practices; quality control. Intermediate and final reports will be prepared.

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Ente Nazionale per l'Energia Elettrica SpA (ENEL)
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Via Alessandro Volta 1
20093 Cologno Monzese

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Participants (4)