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2014

Palash Kanwar
The Doon School
June 2014
Calculating the Efficiency of a
Standalone Solar PV System using
a Solar Simulator
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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology



























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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


NIT - EXPERIMENT
CALCULATING THE EFFICIENCY OF A STANDALONE SOLAR PV SYSTEM USING A SOLAR SIMULATOR

Palash Kanwar, The Doon School, Dehradun
Dr. Shrish Velma (Prof. and Dean of Electronics and Telecom. Engineering) NIT, Raipur
Dr. Narendra Digambar Londhe (Asst. Prof. of Electrical Department) NIT, Raipur



ABSTRACT
Background: The world demands new technologies to harness alternative energy to reduce fossil fuel
consumption. Efficient technologies are needed using renewable energy systems. Solar Photovoltaic
technology is one of the renewable energy systems which uses PV Modules to convert sunlight into
electricity.
Aim: The aim of this research was to calculate the efficiency of a Standalone Solar Photovoltaic System.
Method: A Solar Simulator was used as a model to calculate the efficiency of an ideal SPV System. In
order to measure the efficiency of the whole Standalone Solar PV System , the efficiency of the Solar PV
Modules, the battery and the inverter was calculated.
Result: The efficiency of the PV Module was 42%, the efficiency of the battery was 73% and the
efficiency of the inverter was 70%. The efficiency of the Standalone Solar PV System was 22%.
Conclusion: The experiment revealed that the efficiency of the Standalone Solar PV System is very low
(22%), so it is inefficient to predict the actual efficiency of a Solar Photovoltaic System.






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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology



NIT - EXPERIMENT
CALCULATING THE EFFICIENCY OF A STANDALONE SOLAR PV SYSTEM USING A SOLAR SIMULATOR
STANDALONE SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICE SYSTEM (SPV)
Systems that convert Sunlight (photons) directly into Electricity (voltaic), store them and make it
available for operating electrical loads are called Solar Photovoltaic Systems (Solar PV System). Edmund
Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839 and over these years it has evolved to produce an
effective and sustainable living.

Figure - 1: Simple Working of a SPV System
The electricity produced is supplied to appliances or technically known as Electrical Load. The
photovoltaic cells are most commonly made of Silicon. They have a Negative top (N-type) and a Positive
bottom (P-type). When light (photons) reaches the solar panels (made up of various small photovoltaic
cells), it creates an electric field between the N-type and the P-type layers hence producing electricity.
NATIONAL INSTITUE OF TECHNOLOGY - RAIPUR (NIT)
The National Institutes of Technology are a conglomeration of public engineering colleges in India.
Comprising of thirty autonomous institutes, they are located in each major state or territory in India.
The President of India is the ex officio visitor of all the NITs.
NIT Raipur was founded in 1956 as Govt. College of Mining and Metallurgy. This institution offers
undergraduate and post graduate degrees in eleven engineering disciplines and Architecture.


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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


EXPERIMENT
Aim: to calculate the efficiency of a Standalone Solar Photovoltaic System using a Solar Simulator.
Objective: is to learn and understand the working of a Standalone SPV. To implement this knowledge
into practical application through a Solar Simulator.

Figure - 2: Solar PV System Setup
In the system shown in Figure 2, the PV modules generate energy. Knowing the daily average solar
radiation of the location where the system is installed, the amount of energy generated by a solar PV
module can be estimated. For e.g. if 1kWp PV modules are installed at a location having an average solar
radiation of 5kWhrm
-2
day
-1
(5hrday
-1
x 1000Wm
-2
)

, then the daily energy generation by PV modules is:
5hrday
-1
x 1kWp = 5kWhr day
-1

This is the average energy generated by solar PV modules.
If the power rating of the load connected in a PV system in known , and if the loads are running for a
number of hours then the energy consumed by the loads in the PV system can be estimated. For eg., if a
CFL of 20 wattage is connected and is operated for 4 hours per day, then the energy consumed by the
CFL per day is: 20W x 4 hrday
-1
= 80W hrday
-1
or 0.08 kW hrday
-1
Materials Required:
Standalone Solar PV Simulator
Quartz Halogen Lamps (acting as Sun)
Solar Modules (miniature)
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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


Exhaust Fan (to maintain the temperature)
Voltmeter (in - built, to measure the voltage produced)
Ammeter (in - built, to measure the current produced)
Potentiometer (in - built, to regulate the resistance)
Temperature Controller (in - built, to maintain the temperature)
Battery (Rechargeable)
LED Bulb or DC Bulb (Load)
Multi meter
Connecting Wires
Inverter







Top Compartment

Lamp
Control

Middle Compartment

Fan Switch

Fan



Door Knob
Ammeter


Voltmeter

Potentiometer
Power Switch


Figure - 4:The Solar Simulator
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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


Approach and Procedure:
In order to measure the efficiency of the whole Standalone Solar PV System, it is necessary that we
calculate the efficiency of the Solar PV Modules, the battery and the inverter. The efficiency of the
Standalone Solar PV System is measured by the following formula:
PV system efficiency = PV Module Efficiency x Battery Efficiency x Inverter Efficiency

In order to successfully complete this experiment, we will calculate the efficiencies of the module,
battery and the inverter individually. We will make different circuits to measure the efficiencies of each
of these components and tackle them one by one.

I. Efficiency of Solar PV Module:
PV Module efficiency depends on many parameters like solar radiation, temperature, area, cell
technology etc. Since, we are conducting this experiment all these above parameters remain constant
throughout the experiment hence giving us the ideal efficiency of the Solar Module.
















Figure - 5: Solar PV Module in the Simulator Figure - 6: Connection of the Solar Cells

The PV Module efficiency can be estimated using the formula:
PV Module Efficiency = Measured Wp/(Radiation x Module Area)
The experiment can be performed in two steps:
Step I: in the first step, the circuit for changing the battery through solar PV modules can be
connected (without turning the inverter and the load ON). Measurement of energy input and energy
output (during a given period) will provide the energy efficiency.
Step II: in this step, the inverter and the load circuit can be connected (without connecting the PV
modules).

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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


To find out the efficiency of the solar PV module
The connections were done as shown in the figure
With the rheostat, an I-V characteristics curve is plotted at different values of resistance
The value of Pm is calculated from the I-V characteristics curve drawn
Using equation (I), the PV module efficiency is calculated

Figure - 7: Circuit
to measure the Solar
PV Module Efficiency






Solar Radiation Constant = 1400 Wm
-2

Time Interval Constant = 1 minute 30 seconds (90 seconds)
Temperature Constant = 33
0
C
Cell Area Constant = 4 x 4 cm
2
= 8cm
2
(2)

S.No. Resistance () Voltage (V) Current (I/mA) Current (Amp) Power (VxI)=W
1. 0 0.102 465 4.65 0.47
2. 10 0.536 053 0.53 0.28
3. 20 0.546 028 0.28 0.15
4. 30 0.547 019 0.19 0.10
5. 40 0.547 015 0.15 0.08
6. 50 0.547 012 0.12 0.07
7. 60 0.548 011 0.11 0.06
8. 70 0.547 009 0.09 0.05
9. 80 0.547 008 0.08 0.04
10. 90 0.548 008 0.08 0.04
11. 100 0.548 007 0.07 0.04

Maximum Power (W
p
) = 0.47 W
Solar Radiation Constant = 1400 Wm
-2

Module Area = 8 x 10
-4
m
2

Efficiency = 0.47 / (1400 x 8 x 10
-4
)
= 0.419
0.42 or 42%



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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


II. Efficiency of Battery:
In order to calculate the efficiency of the battery, the efficiency of charging and discharging of the
battery is to be measured.
The process of charging and then discharging a rechargeable battery into a desired load is known as a
charge cycle. A charge is said to be complete only when the initial and the final voltages of the battery
are the same.
The initial terminal voltage of the battery is the voltage before beginning of the charging cycle whereas,
the final terminal voltage is the one at the end of the discharging cycle.
Battery Efficiency = Energy Output/Energy Input




Multimeter



Rechargeable Battery


LED Bulb (LOAD)




Figure - 8: Rechargeable Battery along with the Multimeter



To find out the efficiency of the battery and the inverter:
Before doing the connection, the battery terminal voltage was measured
DC Ammeter was connected in series with PV output and battery input
DC voltmeter was connected in parallel with output of PV modules
The charging current which was measured was taken by the battery from one PV module for a
fixed time interval
Battery was disconnected from the PV module and the output voltage was noted
The charging current was measured which was taken by the battery from two PV modules
connected in parallel for a fixed time interval
Battery was disconnected from the PV module and the output voltage was noted
The observation noted is given in the table below.


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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


S.No Battery Charging
(Output from PV Modules)
Battery Discharging
(Input to Inverter)
V (V) I (A) P
(W)
Duration
(t - hrs)
Energy
(Wh)
V (V) I (A) P
(W)
Duration
(t - hrs)
Energy
(Wh)
1. 1.000 1.15 1.15 0.00 0.00 3.150 2.20 6.93 0.00 0.00
2. 1.100 1.18 1.29 0.08 0.10 2.924 2.05 5.99 0.08 0.48
3. 1.250 1.22 1.53 0.17 0.26 2.808 1.92 5.39 0.17 0.92
4. 1.350 1.35 1.82 0.25 0.46 2.695 1.84 4.96 0.25 1.24
5. 1.490 1.48 2.21 0.33 0.73 2.100 1.65 3.47 0.33 1.55
6. 1.750 1.55 2.71 0.42 1.14 1.900 1.62 3.08 0.42 1.29
7. 1.850 1.61 2.98 0.50 1.49 1.600 1.55 2.48 0.50 1.24
8. 2.050 1.67 3.42 0.58 1.98 1.200 1.29 1.55 0.58 0.89
9. 2.250 1.85 4.16 0.67 2.79 1.100 1.20 1.32 0.67 0.88
10. 2.525 2.00 5.06 0.75 3.80 1.000 1.10 1.10 0.75 0.83
AVERAGE ENERGY INPUT 1.28 AVERAGE ENERGY OUPUT 0.93

Efficiency of the Battery = Average Energy Output/Average Energy Input
= 0.93/1.28
= 0.73 (approximately)
73% Efficiency
Initial terminal voltage of the battery (at the beginning of charging): 1 V
Final terminal voltage of the battery (at the end of charging): 2.5 V
Total energy input to the battery from PV modules: 3.8 Wh
Terminal voltage of the battery (at the start of discharging): 3.1 V
Terminal voltage of the battery (at the end of discharging): 1 V
Total output energy given by the battery: 1.89 Wh
Battery efficiency: 73 %

III. Efficiency of Inverter:
In case of measuring the inverter efficiency, the amount of energy input to the inverter and the amount
of energy output by the inverter is to be known. The load (bulb) is supposed to be fed through the
inverter for a particular duration. This will therefore allow us to measure the input
and output of energy in the inverter.
The Inverter Efficiency is known by the formula:
Inverter Efficiency = Energy Output/Energy Input



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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology


S.No Inverter Input
(Battery side while charging)
Inverter Output
V (V) I (A) P
(W)
Duration
(t - hrs)
Energy
(Wh)
V (V) I (A) P
(W)
Duration
(t - hrs)
Energy
(Wh)
1. 10.00 1.15 11.5 0.00 0.00 31.50 2.20 69.3 0.00 0.00
2. 11.00 1.18 12.9 0.08 1.03 29.24 2.05 59.9 0.08 4.79
3. 12.50 1.22 15.3 0.17 2.60 28.08 1.92 53.9 0.17 9.16
4. 13.50 1.35 18.2 0.25 4.56 26.95 1.84 49.6 0.25 12.40
5. 14.90 1.48 22.1 0.33 7.29 21.00 1.65 34.7 0.33 11.45
6. 17.50 1.55 27.1 0.42 11.38 19.00 1.62 30.8 0.42 12.93
7. 18.50 1.61 29.8 0.50 14.90 16.00 1.55 24.8 0.50 12.40
8. 20.50 1.67 34.2 0.58 19.83 12.00 1.29 15.5 0.58 8.99
9. 22.50 1.85 41.6 0.67 27.82 11.00 1.20 13.2 0.67 8.88
10. 25.25 2.00 50.6 0.75 37.95 10.00 1.10 11.0 0.75 8.25
AVERAGE ENERGY INPUT 12.75 AVERAGE ENERGY OUTPUT 8.93


Efficiency of the Inverter = Average Energy Output/Average Energy Input
= 8.93/12.75
= 0.70 (approximately)
70% Efficiency
Initial voltage of the battery at the start of discharging cycle: 10 V
Final voltage of the battery at the end of discharging cycle: 25.25 V
Total time for which the battery discharging is done or total time for which the load has run: 60 min
The amount of energy taken by the inverter from the battery: 37.95 Wh
The amount of energy supplied by the inverter to the load: 12.93 Wh
The efficiency of the inverter: 70

Figure - 9: Circuit Diagram of the whole Standalone Solar PV System
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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology



















Figure - 10: Working on the battery with the full setup


EFFICIENCY OF THE STANDALONE SOLAR PV SYSTEM
Efficiency = Efficiency of Solar Module x Efficiency of Battery x Efficiency of Inverter
= 0.42 x 0.73 x 0.70
= 0.215 (approximately)
22 % (approximately)

CONCLUSION
As observed, the efficiency of the PV module is 42%, the efficiency of the Battery is 73% and the
efficiency of the Inverter is 70%. This therefore suggests that the efficiency of the Standalone Solar PV
System is very low with an efficiency of 22%. The PV System perhaps suffers such inefficiencies due to
the quality of the products as well as the inability of the Solar Simulator to produce enough power to be
calculated. There may have been human as well as system errors which would have occurred leading to
such varying results.
The Efficiencies of the Battery and the Inverter are more or less consistent. The Efficiency of the PV
Module is very low at 42% due to its small module area and less power generation.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I am extremely grateful to Dr. Shrish Verma (Professor and Dean of Electronics and Telecom.
Engineering) and Dr. Narendra Digambar Londhe (Assistant Professor of Electrical Department) for
giving me an opportunity to do a technical internship in the prestigious Electrical Department of NIT
Raipur. The academic guidance that I received shall pave a path for my future studies.
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Palash Kanwar - Experiment at National Institute of Technology



BIBLIOGRAPHY
Solar Photovoltaics - A Lab Training Manual by Chetan S. Solanki, Brij M. Arora, Juzer Vasi and
Mahesh B. Patil
http://www.solarenergy.org/
http://www.ncpre.iitb.ac.in/pages/solar_pv_kit.html