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Design Of A Photovoltaic Power System

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.368.1 - 7.368.9



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Paper Authors

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Athula Kulatunga

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Bill Hutzel

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Design of a Photovoltaic Power System

William J. Hutzel and N. Athula Kulatunga Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


What should technology and engineering students know about renewable energy? Traditional energy technologies, such as coal-fired power plants and petroleum-based internal combustion engines, will continue to dominate modern society for the short term. However, an increased dependence on foreign energy sources, energy shortages, and environmental concerns are beginning to bring alternative energy issues to the forefront. The paper describes the design of a small photovoltaic power system that demonstrates renewable energy topics in a variety of MET and EET undergraduate courses.

Energy Use in the United States

Figure 1 illustrates several well-known trends regarding overall energy consumption and production in the United States. 1 Prior to 1950, energy production and consumption were roughly equal. The U.S. met its domestic energy requirements without foreign sources. By the early 1960’s, consumption began surpassing production. In recent decades, increased use of automobiles, higher levels of industrial production, and greater amounts of comfort air conditioning allowed total consumption to easily surpass total production. In 2000, the U.S. produced only about 75% of the total energy it used.


90 Total Consumption 80 U.S. Energy Allocation (Quads)


Total Production 60



30 15 1 Quad = 10 Btu's 20


0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Year

Figure 1. Energy consumption has outpaced energy production in the United States.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Kulatunga, A., & Hutzel, B. (2002, June), Design Of A Photovoltaic Power System Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11021

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