Award Date

8-1-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Committee Member

Yahia Baghzouz

Second Committee Member

R. Jacob Baker

Third Committee Member

Sahjendra Singh

Fourth Committee Member

Sajjad Ahmad

Number of Pages

97

Abstract

Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy has been sustaining a major growth rate over the last decade in many parts of the world. This steep growth has been driven by concern about climate change, the adoption of renewable portfolio standards, government incentives, and reduction in PV system costs. Recently, however, such large PV penetration into the electrical grid is cause a concern that might curb such a growth; namely, the incontrollable intermittency of power generated on cloudy days. Furthermore, conventional PV system configurations often do not harness the maximum power that is available under partial shading caused by clouds or shadows of nearby structures. This thesis evaluates three issues related to this problem: (a) non-conventional PV system configurations that use distributed power electronics to harness maximum power under shaded and/or mismatch conditions, (b) system monitoring using Infra-Red (IR) imaging for operation and maintenance purposes, and (c) software tools that determine accurate current-voltage (IV) curves under partial shading. In the first issue above, a commercial software tool is used to compare the performance of conventional and non-conventional PV systems under mismatch and shaded conditions. In the second issue, and improved image processing method is proposed to better decide the status of PV modules in borderline cases. Finally, in the third issue, a MatLab based software tool is developed to accurately determine the shape of the I-V curve of a PV array under partial shade. The simulated curves compare well (i.e., within 3% error) with experimental data.

Keywords

Photovoltaic cells; Photovoltaic power generation; Solar energy industries

Disciplines

Electrical and Computer Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability

Language

English


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