June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Energy Conversion and Conservation
12.122.1 - 12.122.17
A Student-Centered Solar Photovoltaic Installation Project
In light of the growing recognition that the country must accelerate efforts to develop alternatives to oil, the U.S. government has offered incentives for installation of alternative energy systems. One incentive program administered by the State of Michigan Energy Office called for organizations to install and demonstrate large scale (10 kW or larger) solar photovoltaic systems for purposes of public education. The College of Engineering & Science at the University of Detroit Mercy applied for and was awarded such a grant in 2005. The project had two objectives: first, to demonstrate that photovoltaic solar energy generation can be seamlessly incorporated into existing architecture; and second, to inform and educate a wide-ranging target audience about the technology and issues surrounding photovoltaic systems.
State funds were restricted to equipment, supplies, and materials. In order to minimize additional costs, the faculty team decided to purchase a PV system that required minimal support structure and building modification, and to use volunteer faculty and student labor to accomplish the installation. In spite of the time commitment, the experience provided invaluable benefits in terms of student-faculty relationships, student learning, and fostering interdepartmental collaboration.
The remainder of the paper describes the system we installed, the installation process, student learning which took place, and preliminary system performance data.
The photovoltaic system is a 10 kW Uni-Solar “Premier Solar Flat” system, consisting of seven 6.1 m 5.2 m horizontally mounted self-ballasted assemblies that feed an inverter which in turn provides AC power directly into the building’s electrical system. The pre-engineered system uses triple junction amorphous silicon alloy technology designed and manufactured by United Solar Ovonic. We decided to install a 10 kW system because we wanted to minimize costs and 10 kW was the smallest supported by the grant.
Each assembly consists of 11 of Uni-Solar’s 136 W photovoltaic laminates. Each flexible laminate strip is approximately 0.41 m wide and 5.5 m long, and is durable enough to walk on. The laminates are attached to standing seam metal roofing assemblies with a “peel-and-stick” adhesive. Each laminate is rated at 33 VDC and 4.1 A. Within each of the seven assemblies 11 laminates are connected in series to generate 363 V and 4.1 A. The seven assemblies are connected in parallel to give a nominal DC output of 28.7 A at 363 V. The DC power is directed into a Xantrex 10 kW 60 Hz sine wave inverter to generate 208 VAC 3-phase power. The AC power is delivered to the building’s electrical system through a 10 kVA, 208 V “wye” isolation transformer. Since the system is rated at 10 kW peak for the DC power, the 10 kVA transformer is operating below the rated value under normal conditions.
Haman, A., & Ross, R., & Schumack, M., & Wittig, W., & Chew, D., & Dzwigalski, K., & Keimig, C., & Mouyianis, M., & Rourke, T. (2007, June), A Student Centered Solar Photovoltaic Installation Project Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1725
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