Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The design of a small scale photovoltaic (PV) power plant

A 15 kWp multipurpose photovoltaic (PV) plant is being designed, installed and put into operation on the campus of the Faculty for Science and Technology of the New University of Lisbon, (FCT-UNL) in Portugal. An expert system is also being developed to provide criteria for the design of PV pump systems.

The plant, which is designed as a stand alone system, will actuate water pumps for irrigation purposes. PV pumps, for technical reasons, cannot consume 100% of the PV generator output. For maximum utilization of surplus energy from the PV field additional consumers such as electrical power for tools, energy for a campus lighting system or back up electrical energy for sensitive electronic equipment in case of grid failure may be added to the system.

The central part of the system is an intelligent freely programmable load management system which will ensure optimal use of the energy supplied by the solar array. The lay out of this system is such that it offers the highest degree of flexibility for easy adaption to varying load profiles due to seasonal alterations or introduction of unpredicted loads.

A data acquisition system allows the monitoring of energy utilization and distribution. Results of the work serve as models for independent PV-powered grid systems supplying consumers of different priority levels in industrialized countries as well as for third world applications.

The plant has been built and is operating correctly. A personal computer (PC) based programme to simulate pumping systems was developed and validated. Work on developing the expert system is in progress.

Reported by

Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Quinta da Torre
2825 Monte da Caparica
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