Design optimization of a large scale rooftop

photovoltaic system
Xiangyang Gong
a
, Manohar Kulkarni
b,
*
a
Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
b
Mechanical Engineering, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
Received 29 September 2003; received in revised form 16 August 2004; accepted 17 August 2004
Available online 21 September 2004
Communicated by: Associate Editor T.M. Razykov
Abstract
This paper presents the optimization process of a grid connected photovoltaic (PV) system, which is intended to
replace a large-scale thermal solar system on the rooftop of a Federal office building. A PV energy conversion model
is described. Based on this model, array surface tilt angle and array size are optimized. The optimization method is
based on maximizing the utilization of the array output energy, and, at the same time, minimizing the electricity power
sold to grid. An effectiveness factor is introduced that takes into account both of these parameters. The array config-
uration and the output parameters are determined by comparing several PV modules. A 43.2kW PV system is designed
and operational problems such as harmonic effects and anti-islanding are discussed. Finally, the system performance is
simulated and through economic analysis it has shown that the cost of PV system can be recouped in 13years under the
current renewable energy incentive program by the state of Illinois.
Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Photovoltaic system; Optimization; Array; Solar radiation; Tilt angle; Effectiveness factor; Performance; Harmonic effect;
Islanding
1. Introduction
In the past two decades the photovoltaics has devel-
oped into a mature technology and has become accept-
able worldwide. As a promising renewable energy
resource, photovoltaic technology enjoys substantial
government supports in research and application in
several major industrial countries. The international
competition, along with years of experience in manufac-
turing, research and development, has resulted in im-
proved photovoltaic module efficiency, cost reduction
and productivity increase. According to (Holihan,
2003), the worldwide photovoltaic shipment increased
four times in 1990s and reached a peak megawatts gen-
eration of 201MWp in 1999, while the price of photo-
voltaic modules has dropped from $30/Wp in 1970s to
$5/Wp now. Although this price is somewhat acceptable,
the cost of entire system still remains relatively high
0038-092X/$ - see front matter Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.solener.2004.08.008
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 701 777 2571; fax: +1 701
777 2271.
E-mail address: Manohar.Kulkarni@mail.und.nodak.edu
(M. Kulkarni).
Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
www.elsevier.com/locate/solener
compared with traditional power generation technology.
The high cost necessitates that the design parameters,
such as surface tilt angle and array size, should be
optimized.
A grid connected photovoltaic system eliminates the
need for a battery storage bank resulting in considerable
reduction of the initial cost and maintenance cost. The
photovoltaic system instead uses grid as a bank where
the excess electric power can be deposited to and
when necessary also withdrawn from. When the photo-
voltaic system is applied in buildings, the PV modules
usually are mounted on rooftop and facade, which
can reduce the size of mounting structure and land
requirements.
This paper presents the design optimization processes
for a large-scale rooftop photovoltaic system, which will
be used to retrofit the existing thermal solar system on
the rooftop of Federal Office Building in Carbondale,
Illinois. This building was built in 1978 as one of only
three prototypic thermal solar buildings in the United
States. The roof of this building was designed to have
a slope of 42° to maximize the reception of solar radia-
tion. After 17years of operation, the hydronic thermal
solar system on the building rooftop was shut down in
1995. Hundreds of thermal solar modules and the racks
still remain on the roof. As shown in Fig. 1, the thermal
solar modules are arranged on three roof zones of the
building. The southwest array is the largest one with
dimension of 14.33m (47 feet) by 28.96m (95 feet).
The northwest array is the smallest having the dimen-
sion of 10.67m (35 feet) by 21.34m (70 feet). The dimen-
sion of east array is 14.63m (48 feet) by 21.34m (70 feet).
The study of the thermal solar system and the justifica-
tion for the proposed photovoltaic system replacement
has been reported by (Gong and Kulkarni, submitted
for publication).
This paper discusses the photovoltaic energy conver-
sion model and the methodology to optimize the array
surface tilt angle, array size and configuration. The opti-
mal PV system is designed and the anticipated PV
operational problems such as the harmonic effects and
anti-islanding are discussed. Finally, the performance
of this optimal system is simulated and the techno-
economical benefits are analyzed.
2. Climate data
The strength of solar radiation is the primary consid-
eration in selecting location for PV installation. The
electricity output of a PV array is directly proportional
to the radiation input. Local climatic and environmental
factors such as temperature extremes, humidity, precip-
itation, and wind will constrain the output of PV array.
Nevertheless, these are all secondary effects when com-
pared with insolation intensity. The total yearly insola-
tion changes with latitude at different locations.
Photovoltaic performance calculation requires the
incoming solar radiation, ambient air temperature and
local humidity. The Illinois Weather Bureau has
recorded the detailed meteorological data for Carbon-
dale from 1989. The meteorological data such as air
temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, pre-
cipitation, etc. are recorded hourly. Ten years of meteor-
ological data (from 1991 to 2001, data of 1999 are
unavailable) were analyzed and compiled to obtain the
monthly local radiation, temperature and humidity data
as shown in Table 1.
Nomenclature
T
r
reference temparature
b temperature coefficient of energy conversion
efficiency
I
C
instantaneous solar radiation per unit area
incident on the array
(sa) solar radiation transmittance-absorptance
product of the array
g average energy conversion efficiency
weighted in proportion to the solar
radiation
I
C
the sum of three radiation components cor-
responding to the beam, diffuse, and
ground-reflected radiation
I monthly average hourly radiation per unit
area on a horizontal surface which is esti-
mated from monthly average daily radiation
data
h
p
array surface tilt angle from horizon
T
a
monthly average hourly temperature
I
0
the extraterrestrial radiation of an hour
k
t
the ratio of the horizontal solar radiation to
the extraterrestrial radiation

k
t
the ratio of I to I
0
k
sa
factor which accounts for the dependence of
the array transmittance-absorptance prod-
uct with solar radiation incidence angle
W
p
capacity of PV module rated at standard
testing conditions
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 363
3. PV energy conversion model
The output of PV system can be estimated based on
the methods developed by (Siegel et al., 1981), and
(Clark et al., 1984). The monthly average hourly array
output, E, can be determined by
E ¼ AI
C
gk
sa
ð1Þ
Various parameters that appear on the right hand side
of the above equation are discussed next. Parameter A
is the array area which includes packing factor and I
C
is the long-time average hourly solar radiation per unit
area incident on the array. I
C
is calculated as the sum
of three radiation components corresponding to the
beam, diffuse, and ground-reflected radiation. Accord-
ing to Duffie and Beckman (1991) I
C
can be expressed
as
I
C
¼
_
I 1 À
_
I
d
_
I
_ _
R
b
C þ
_
I
d
_
I
1 þ cosðh
p
Þ
2
_ _ _
þ q
1 À cosðh
p
Þ
2
_ __
ð2Þ
where
_
I is the monthly average hourly radiation per unit
area on a horizontal surface. It is estimated from the
monthly average daily radiation data given in Table 1.
The monthly average diffuse fraction
_
I
d
_
I
is developed by
(Erbs et al., 1982), as
_
I
d
_
I
¼ 1:317 À 3:023K
t
þ 3:372K
2
t
À 1:769K
3
t
ð3Þ
Fig. 1. Layout of thermal solar arrays on the rooftop of federal building.
Table 1
Monthly average climate data for Carbondale, Illinois
Radiation
(kWh/m
2
*
day)
Temperature
(°C)
Humidity
(g/kg dry air)
Jan. 1.966 À0.103 2.900
Feb. 2.825 3.283 3.400
March 3.941 7.130 4.100
April 4.993 12.956 5.900
May 5.724 18.186 9.000
June 6.405 22.317 12.200
July 6.530 24.031 14.200
Aug. 5.860 23.600 13.800
Sept. 4.753 18.789 10.100
Oct. 3.845 13.656 6.900
Nov. 2.212 6.867 4.400
Dec. 1.714 2.130 3.300
364 X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
where K
t
is the average ratio of the horizontal solar radi-
ation to the extraterrestrial radiation.
The parameter R
b
in Eq. (2) is the ratio of beam radi-
ation on the aperture plane to that on a horizontal sur-
face, C is the concentration ratio, h
p
the array tilt angle
with respect to the horizontal, and q the ground reflect-
ance. This concludes the explanation of all parameters in
Eq. (2) above and the term I
C
in Eq. (1).
Now the parameter g in Eq. (1), is the average energy
conversion efficiency weighted in proportion to the solar
radiation. It can be evaluated by the following equation
per (Siegel et al., 1981), and (Clark et al., 1984).
g ¼ g
r
g
pt
1 À bðT
a
À T
r
Þ
_
À b
sa
I
C
U
ð1 À g
r
g
pt
Þ
_
I
C;Max
0
I
2
C
PðI
C
Þ dI
C
_
ð4Þ
Here T
a
is the monthly average hourly temperature
which is estimated in terms of the monthly average daily
temperature based on the model developed by (Erbs
et al., 1983). The parameters g
r
and g
pt
are array
reference energy conversion efficiency and efficiency of
the power tracking equipment, respectively. The other
terms in Eq. (4) are explained in the Nomenclature
section.
The integral in Eq. (4) has been evaluated by (Klein
and Beckman, 2001). The results are shown as Eq. (5).
_
I
C;Max
0
I
2
C
PðI
C
Þ dI
C
¼ a
1
I
2
0
_
kt;max
0
k
2
t
Pðk
t
Þ dk
t
þ a
2
I
2
0
_
kt;max
0
k
2
t
I
d
I
_ _
Pðk
t
Þdk
t
þ a
3
I
2
0
_
kt;max
0
k
2
t
I
d
I
_ _
2
Pðk
t
Þdk
t
ð5Þ
where k
t
is the ratio of horizontal solar radiation, I to
the extraterrestrial radiation, I
0
. Parameters a
1
, a
2
, a
3
are constants for given hour and month. They can be
evaluated by Eqs. (6) through (8).
a
1
¼ ðR
b

2
þ qCð1 À cosðsÞÞR
b
þ
q
2
ð1 À cosðh
p
ÞÞ
2
4
ð6Þ
a
2
¼ R
b
Cð1 þ cosðh
p
Þ À 2R
b

þ qð1 þ cosðh
p
Þ À 2R
b

1 À cosðh
p
Þ
2
ð7Þ
a
3
¼
1 þ cosðh
p
Þ
2
À R
b
C
_ _
2
ð8Þ
The instantaneous diffuse fraction
I
d
I
is a function of k
t
as
explained by (Duffie and Beckman, 1991). The long-
term probability distribution of k
t
is a known function
of

k
t
, defined as

k
t
¼
I
I
0
, which can be determined
by daily radiation data listed in Table 1. The integrals
in Eq. (5) have been evaluated by (Liu and Jordan,
1960).
_
kt;max
0
k
2
t
Pðk
t
Þ dk
t
¼ À0:1551 þ 0:9226

k
t
ð9Þ
_
k
t;max
0
k
2
t
I
d
I
_ _
Pðk
t
Þ dk
t
¼ 0:1456 þ 0:0544 lnð

k
t
Þ ð10Þ
_
kt;max
0
k
2
t
I
d
I
_ _
2
Pðk
t
Þ dk
t
¼

k
t
ð0:2769 þ 0:3184

k
t
Þ ð11Þ
By substituting Eq. (6) through (11) into Eq. (5), then
plugging the Eq. (5) into Eq. (4), g thus can be obtained.
The one remaining term in Eq. (1) is a factor k
sa
which accounts for dependence of the array transmit-
tance-absorptance product with solar radiation inci-
dence angle. This factor is evaluated by (Duffie and
Beckman, 1991).
Submitting the values of k
sa
, g, I
C
and A into Eq. (1),
the monthly average hourly array output, E, can now be
determined.
4. Parameter optimization
As mentioned in introduction section, the slope angle
of this building is 42°, and three roof zones are available.
Whether the angle is the best angle to maximize the
yearly power production? How much is the difference
between the maximum power production at an optimal
angle and the currently roof angle? Whether all the roof
zones need to be used for PV installation? These ques-
tions shall be investigated. Array surface tilt angle and
array size are two important parameters in photovoltaic
system. The selection of these parameters will greatly
affect the system economics. These parameters need to
be optimized before designing a PV system.
4.1. Surface tilt angle optimization
The radiation received by a PV array on earth can
be divided into three categories: direct, diffuse, and
reflected. The diffuse radiation approaches array
surface from all unobstructed angles, while direct
radiation strikes array surface from only one angle.
Since the atmospheric constituents scatter a portion
of the total beam radiation from the sun, some diffuse
radiation always exists even when the sky appears very
clear.
The orientation of a surface on earth is defined by
two angles: the surface tilt or slop angle and the surface
azimuth angle. The surface tilt angle indicates how far
up from the horizontal a given surface is sloped, while
the azimuth angle denotes how the surface is located rel-
ative to the true north–south and east–west coordinates
(due south represents an azimuth angle of 0°, due east
is À90°, north is 180°, and west is 90°). A horizontal
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 365
surface receives the maximum diffuse radiation but only
a minimum reflected radiation. When a south-facing sur-
face is tilted up from horizontal, the amount of diffuse
radiation received decreases. However, the receipt of
radiation reflected off the ground increases.
For the Federal Building in Carbondale the azimuth
angle of building /
p
is zero. The incidence angle of sun h
i
depends on the geographical location (latitude 37°46
0
and longitude 89°14
0
) and time of the year. The aim of
design optimization is to determine the optimal tilt angle
h
p
for each season in order to obtain maximum output
from the PV array.
According to Mathew (Buresch, 1983) the optimal
tilt angle for a south facing surface equals the siteÕs lat-
itude. This surface would receive optimum amount of
direct-beam solar radiation over the entire year. If the
maximum solar energy is expected to be received dur-
ing the winter month, the surface tilt angle should
approximately equal the latitude angle plus 11°; conse-
quently, the best tilt angle during the summer month is
the siteÕs latitude angle À11°. When compared with lat-
itude angle of Carbondale, 37°46
0
, it can be observed
that the roof angle of 42° for the Federal Building
was designed for maximizing solar energy received in
fall and winter. In winter the radiation strength
becomes lower. At the same time, the thermal solar col-
lectors lose significant amount of heat to environment.
Conversion efficiency of thermal solar collectors be-
comes lower. However, for a PV system this angle
may not be the best because the efficiency of PV mod-
ules increases when the ambient temperature decrease,
such as in winter. In addition, the diffuse and reflected
components of solar radiation were neglected in the
above analysis. It should be noted that tilting a surface
up from horizontal decreases the diffuse radiation and
increases the reflection received from the ground which
makes an optimum tilt angle for PV different that from
the angle for Solar-Thermal.
Using the climate data presented in Table 1 in the
photovoltaic analysis software developed by Klein and
Beckman, 2001, the PV electricity output from a
954.6m
2
array at different tilt angles from 22° to 48°
can be calculated. The PV outputs are plotted in Fig. 2
and Fig. 3 for illustrating the effect of tilt angle on
Monthly and Yearly PV output, respectively.
From Fig. 2, it can be observed that the power out-
put increases gradually from January to a maximum in
July and then decreases gradually from July to Decem-
ber. As explained before, Fig. 3 shows that the current
roof angle (42°) is not the best surface tilt angle for pho-
tovoltaic PV array in Carbondale. The best tilt angle in
Carbondale is about 30°. From Fig. 3 we can see that the
output of PV array first increases with surface tilt angle
up to an angle of 30° but then decreases as the tilt angle
is increased further.
The surface tilt angle optimization can also be used
to determine differential energy and cost savings at other
angles. These benefits then can be used to offset potential
costs associated with any solar tracking mechanism for
the PV panels. Using the output at current roof angle,
42° as reference, a series of energy savings can be deter-
mined. As compared with the PV output at current roof
angle of 42°, the lifetime (20 year) energy savings and
monetary savings at other tilt angles are shown in Table
2. The relationship of surface tilt angle and lifetime sav-
ings is plotted in Fig. 4. Fig. 4 shows the same trend as
Fig. 3. The lifetime differential saving increase with sur-
face tilt angle until it reaches maximum at the angle of
30°, and then decreases if the tilt angle increase. As
shown in Table 2, the lifetime cost savings for the opti-
mal tilt angle 30° is about $4800 for the PV array of
954.6m
2
.
Fig. 2. The effect of tilt angle on monthly PV output.
366 X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
4.2. Array size optimization
It is recommended that the PV system in Federal
Building be a grid-connected system. The advantage of
this system is that when array output surpasses the
building electric load, the surplus electricity can be fed
to grid. The electricity sold can be taken as credit. When
array output is less than building electric load, the grid
can supply the make up electricity. It should be realized
that significant savings can be achieved if the system de-
sign does not include a battery storage system. However,
there is another item to consider. The electricity sold to
the grid fetches about 4¢/kWh, while the electricity
bought from the grid costs almost 9¢/kWh (considering
tax and the demand charge) in Midwest region. Moreo-
ver, the average photovoltaic electricity generation cost
is about 12¢/kWh. Therefore the optimal PV system is
one where the array output matches the electricity loads
very well and the electricity sold to grid is minimized.
Thus the load profile of the building and power output
profile of proposed PV array should always be studied
in combination.
Two years of utility bills (year 2000 and 2001) for the
Federal building were collected. The electricity data was
obtained from these bills. The hourly normalized elec-
tricity demand (kWh/h) during the ‘‘on peak’’ and ‘‘off
peak’’ periods is shown in Fig. 5.
Fig. 5 shows that the electric load reaches a peak in
July when the on peak load is 40.07kWh/h and off peak
load is 48.21kWh/h. The load reaches the lowest point in
Fig. 3. The effect of tilt angle on yearly PV output.
Table 2
Differential energy and cost savings vs. surface tilt angle (array area 954.6m
2
, baseline 420, energy price 9¢/kWh)
Surface tilt angle Yearly total
(kWh)
Yearly energy
saving (kWh)
Lifetime energy savings
(20years) (kWh)
Lifetime cost
savings ($)
22° 136919 1579 31578 2842
24° 137402 2062 41240 3712
26° 137747 2407 48132 4332
28° 137947 2607 52140 4693
30° 137995 2655 53104 4779
32° 137899 2559 51184 4607
34° 137667 2327 46544 4189
36° 137296 1956 39114 3520
38° 136784 1444 28888 2600
40° 136136 796 15912 1432
42° 135340 0 0 0
44° 134415 À925 À18504 À1665
46° 133357 À1984 À39670 À3570
48° 132164 À3176 À63522 À5717
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 367
either March or November. It is reasonable because nat-
ural gas is used for both heating and domestic hot water
boilers in this building. Therefore, the load is high in
summer and low in spring and fall.
As discussed earlier, the array size should be optim-
ized according to electric load profile of the building.
Hourly PV output should match the electric load to in-
crease the economic benefit of the investment. The out-
put of PV system changes hourly as well as loads. The
electricity generated by PV may be used by the building
totally or partially. In order to study the utilization frac-
tion of PV system, an effectiveness factor is defined. This
effectiveness factor is equal to array output that is uti-
lized by the building over total PV array output, as
shown in the following equation:
f
e
¼
_
365
0

24
n¼0
P
i
n
À

24
n¼0
P
s
n
_ _
dm
_
365
0

24
n¼0
P
i
n
_ _
dm
ð12Þ
Here, f
e
is the effectiveness factor for a year. p
i
n
is hourly
PV output, p
s
n
is hourly electricity sold to the grid; n is
number of hours in a day; m is number of days in a year.
The hourly load and daily radiation, temperature and
humidity (Table 1) data are known. These data are ap-
plied to photovoltaic analysis model and the electricity
sold and bought every month can be calculated. The re-
sults are plotted in Fig. 6. The effectiveness factors at dif-
ferent array areas can be determined when the electricity
sold to the grid is known. The results are plotted in Fig. 7.
Fig. 4. Lifetime differential savings vs. surface tilt angle.
Fig. 5. Electric load profile of the building.
368 X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
Fig. 6 shows that the output of PV increases with the
array area. However, the electricity sold to grid begins to
increase sharply when array area is larger than 450m
2
.
The electricity bought from grid decreases with increas-
ing array area. However, the slope of this decrease is less
than array output growth. This can be seen from the
slope difference of ‘‘buy line’’ and ‘‘output line’’. Fig. 6
also indicates that the ‘‘output’’, ‘‘sell’’ and ‘‘buy’’ lines
are almost identical when the tilt angles are 30° and 42°.
To evaluate how much of the output is used by the
building alone, the effectiveness factor must be consid-
ered. Fig. 7 indicates that the effectiveness factor be-
comes lower when array area increases. When array
area is larger than 600m
2
, the effectiveness factor is less
than 80%. A lower effectiveness factor means a longer
payback time and lower usable fraction of PV array.
To enhance the investment benefit, the effectiveness fac-
tor should be greater than 80%. So, the array area of
proposed PV system for Federal Building should be less
than 600m
2
. However, when the array area is too small,
the hourly power output in the daytime will become
much less than the load. A case study has been carried
out when array area is 350m
2
. Hourly output and load
are compared in Fig. 8.
The effectiveness factor at 350m
2
is 0.969. From Fig.
8, it can be observed that for the array area of 350m
2
,
even the array peak power output is less than average
hourly load in August. The situation is the same in Jan-
uary when both load and PV output are least in a year.
This unmatched output vs. load shows that the array
Fig. 6. Performance of PV array at different area (tilt angle: 42° and 30°).
Fig. 7. Effectiveness factor at different array area (tilt angle: 42° and 30°).
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 369
area is not big enough and part of available roof areas
would be wasted. Therefore, the profile of power sold
to grid at each month needs to be considered. The
monthly performance of PV array at different areas
are evaluated and plotted out in Fig. 9.
From Fig. 9, it can be seen that when the array areas
are between 400m
2
(f
e
= 0.945) and 540m
2
(f
e
= 0.848),
the electricity sold to the grid is kept to a minimum while
ensuring that the peak power output of array is a bit lar-
ger than the load (power sold to the grid is positive).
The roof of the Federal building has three zones
available for PV array installation (Fig. 1). Their areas
are 228m
2
, 313m
2
and 415m
2
respectively. The combi-
nation of any two areas would be 541m
2
, 643m
2
and
728m
2
. There are two feasible options in choosing array
areas. One is using only the southwest rooftop (95
0
· 47
0
,
415m
2
) for PV array and the other is to use both north-
west rooftop (70
0
· 35
0
, 228m
2
) and east rooftop
(70
0
· 48
0
, 313m
2
) for PV array. The second option, with
a combined array area of 540m
2
, is a reasonable choice
for array area because some surplus power output dur-
ing the peak hour can be made by taking advantage of
large roof area available. However, 540m
2
is the sum
of east roof zone (228m
2
) and Northwest roof zone
(313m
2
). These two zones are separated by walls and
stair room. This means that two separated arrays will
need to be built. Considering the module size available
in current market and the different dimensions of the
two roofs, we designed several different array layout
for these two zones and found that the array outputs
Fig. 8. Hourly array average output and load for the area of 350m
2
(tilt angle = 42°).
Fig. 9. Electricity sold to grid at different array areas (tilt angle=42°).
370 X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
such as voltages, currents and power output would be
different due to the dimension difference. The additional
inverter and transformer will be needed if two separated
arrays are built. The connecting wire will also be compli-
cated because these two arrays are separated by stair
room and walls.
Moreover, when the hourly load and output of
540m
2
array is studied, the result indicated that the peak
power output is higher than load. Based on the above
analysis, it is recommended that a single array on the
southwest roof zone (95
0
· 47
0
, 415m
2
) should be used.
5. System design and consideration
At current photovoltaic market, BP Solar, ASE
Americas, Shell (Siemens) Solar, Solarex and United-So-
lar account for more than half of the United State pho-
tovoltaic market. The types of the modules vary from
several watts to hundreds of watts. The sizes vary from
several square inches per module to 3500 square inches
per module. For the large array areas, the big module
is the best choice. They have the advantages in installa-
tion and maintenance.
5.1. Array configuration
Four large size PV modules in the current market
were compared in order to setup an array of 415m
2
(95
0
· 47
0
). Different array configurations have been
tried, which generated different type voltages and cur-
rents. The results are shown in Table 3. According to
National Electric Code, 600V is recommended as upper
limit for open circuit voltage in photovoltaic system.
Further, 150A is recommended as the maximum accept-
able short current for 45kW inverter. Based on above
two standards and comparing the array output volatges
and currents listed in Table 3, we find that Module 1
may be the best choice. Therefore, Module 1 is recom-
mended for building the array. A 45kW is selected for
the system.
5.2. Grid connected photovoltaic system
A grid connected photovoltaic system is designed as
shown in Fig. 10. The chief components in this system
are: 288 modules of type 1, a 45kW inverter (output
208V), an isolation transformer (208V/480V), an array
combiner, DC/AC disconnect switches, electric meters,
Table 3
Array configuration comparison
Module Size No. of modules Output V
mp
I
mp
V
oc
I
sc
Module 1 41.7
0
· 93.3
0
288 43.2kW 414V 104.4A 583V 142.5V
Module 2 43.5
0
· 92.6
0
154 43.9kW 555V 78.4A 745.8V 109.6A
Module 2 47.8
0
· 89.1
0
297 44.55kW 374V 118.8A 539.5V 162A
Module 3 48.5
0
· 95.3
0
228 26.5kW 570V 25.3A 927.5V 72A
Fig. 10. Scheme of grid connected photovoltaic system.
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 371
etc. The DC currents generated by the PV array are
organized by combiner to form a more powerful DC cur-
rent. This current flows to the inverter and is converted to
208V AC current. The voltage of AC current rises to
480V after the isolation transformer and then is con-
nected to 480V Building bus by disconnection switch.
The meters in the system record the power generated
by PV array and the power bought from the grid. The
sensors on the roof measure the insolation and climate
data and feed it to data acquisition system, which records
the operational status of PV array simultaneously.
5.3. Operational considerations
Harmonic effect. The quality of power generated by
grid-connected PV systems must meet utility power
requirement in order to be accepted by the grid. The rip-
ple currents created in the DC to AC conversion proc-
esses should be filtered and the distortion of inverter
output current should be within the range of the require-
ments, which are specified in the IEEE 519 Recom-
mended Practice. When a topology of circuit is
selected, the major trade-offs that influence power qual-
ity are the transistor switching frequency used and the
output filter components. Higher switching frequencies
result in higher power quality; however, it is at the ex-
pense of higher switching losses.
The selected 45kW inverter utilizes loop IGBT PWM
drive circuits in converting DC to AC. This unit includes
an AC line filter that removes harmonic currents and
high frequency harmonic current components at the util-
ity system interface to control current quality.
Islanding possibility. Islanding phenomenon refers to
the possibility of an inverter causing a utility island
operation when a utility power outage occurs. An island
condition is defined as grid tied inverter maintaining
operation and supporting a load that has been isolated
from the utility power source. This requires the load to
be closely balanced to the output power of the inverter
as well as having a resonant frequency close to 60Hz.
The requirements are too restrictive to be realizable.
When the frequency of output power of inverter di-
verges far away from 60Hz and become unstable, it
may damage the equipments in HVAC systems of the
building. Needless to say, islanding operation shall be
avoided.
The 45kW inverter selected in this system contains an
active phase-shift-loop algorithm, which destabilizes a
balanced load. Otherwise, the balanced load may be
capable of maintaining inverter operation in the absence
of grid. This algorithm will bring the inverter off-line,
when power outage happens.
6. Performance simulation and economic analysis
Now the output of this PV system design can be simu-
lated using the photovoltaic energy conversion model.
Applying climate data (Table 1), actual array size
361.2m
2
(41.7
0
· 93.3
0
), array conversion efficiency
Fig. 11. Hourly output simulation of the 43.2kW PV system.
372 X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374
11.91%, and the tilt angle of 42° into the simulation soft-
ware, the performance of this system can be evaluated.
The hourly output simulation of the proposed PV
system is plotted in a 3-D graph as shown in Fig. 11.
The monthly performance of the system is shown in
Fig. 12. From Figs. 11 and 12, it can be seen that output
of PV array reaches peak point in July where the load is
close to the peak of a year. The array output can be used
almost completely by the building in the peak months of
summer. The output peak months of PV system corre-
spond to the on-peak months stipulated by a regional
utility company from June to September.
Performance calculations show that when array tilt
angle is 42°, the yearly generation of this system
is 59,622kWh. Out of this total output, about
55,521kWh is used by the building itself and 4101kWh
is sold to the grid. When array tilt angle is 30°, the yearly
generation of this system is 60,825kWh (about
56.955kWh is used by the building and 3870kWh is sold
to the grid). Comparing output at tilt angle, 30° with
that at 42°, we find that arrayÕs yearly output at optimal
tilt angle is 1203kWh higher than that at current roof
angle 42°. The output difference between these two dif-
ferent tilt angles accounts for 2.0% of array yearly
output.
The electricity price is roughly 9¢/kWh in southern
Illinois region; while the average price for the power sold
to the grid is 4¢/kWh. From the market survey, total
cost of installation of this PV system can be obtained.
In addition, the project does qualify for the grant
of 60% project cost from the Renewable Energy initia-
tive of the Illinois State and 20% project cost from
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Eco-
nomic analysis has been carried out with results shown
as follows:
PV array size 361.2m
2
PV module efficiency 11.96%
PV array peak power output 43,200W
Annual PV system output 59,622kWh
Effectiveness factor 93%
Annual benefit $5161
PV system expected life 20years
PV modules $165,025
Power conditioning devices $55,400
Support structure and wiring material $47,900
Design and installation $32,400
Insurance, and other cost $24,700
PV system total cost $325,425
PV system cost (after grant) $65,085
System simple payback time (considering grant) 12.6years
7. Conclusions
This paper described the PV energy conversion model
and presented design optimization processes for a large-
scale photovoltaic system on the rooftop of a Federal of-
fice building. A 43.2kW grid connected photovoltaic
system was designed and its performance at local climate
conditions was simulated. The operational problems of
the photovoltaic system were discussed and economic
analysis was performed. Based on the, the following
conclusions can be reached:
• Array surface tilt angle affects PV system output.
When azimuth angle of building is zero (Building facing
south), the optimal PV array surface tilt angle is close to
the siteÕs latitude, but somewhat less than the siteÕs
latitude. The best PV array surface tilt angle is 300 in
Carbondale, Illinois rather than the current roof tilt an-
gle of 42°.
Fig. 12. Monthly performance simulation of the 43.2kW PV Array.
X. Gong, M. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 373
• To enhance economic benefits of the photovoltaic
system, the array output should match the electric load
of the building. An effectiveness factor was introduced.
The utilization fraction (effectiveness factor) for the
power generated by photovoltaic system should be lar-
ger than 80%. Array size shall be decided according to
the available roof area and the effectiveness factor. In
this proposed system, the effectiveness factor is 93%.
• Inverter is a key equipment in the grid connected
photovoltaic system. A proper inverter enables the sta-
ble and reliable operation of a PV system. Qualified
inverters should utilize technical procedures to reduce
harmonic effects while satisfying the requirements of
the grid and should also possess the functional capabil-
ity of anti-islanding.
• Under the current incentive from the renewable en-
ergy initiative of Illinois State, using the proposed pho-
tovoltaic system to provide electricity for the Federal
building is feasible both in terms of technology and
economics.
Acknowledgments
The grant support provided by the Energy Efficiency
Initiative by U.S. Department of EnergyÕs Rebuild
America and also from the Bureau of Energy & Recy-
cling of Illinois Department of Commerce and Eco-
nomic Opportunity (IDCEO) is greatly appreciated.
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As shown in Fig. The total yearly insolation changes with latitude at different locations.96 m (95 feet). solar radiation. This building was built in 1978 as one of only three prototypic thermal solar buildings in the United States. humidity. precipitation. Photovoltaic performance calculation requires the incoming solar radiation. Finally. the performance of this optimal system is simulated and the technoeconomical benefits are analyzed. data of 1999 are unavailable) were analyzed and compiled to obtain the monthly local radiation. are recorded hourly. .34 m (70 feet). The northwest array is the smallest having the dimension of 10. and wind will constrain the output of PV array.33 m (47 feet) by 28. The southwest array is the largest one with dimension of 14. Gong. which will be used to retrofit the existing thermal solar system on the rooftop of Federal Office Building in Carbondale.34 m (70 feet). Local climatic and environmental factors such as temperature extremes. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 363 Nomenclature Tr b IC (sa)  g reference temparature temperature coefficient of energy conversion efficiency instantaneous solar radiation per unit area incident on the array solar radiation transmittance-absorptance product of the array average energy conversion efficiency weighted in proportion to the solar radiation the sum of three radiation components corresponding to the beam. and ground-reflected radiation monthly average hourly radiation per unit area on a horizontal surface which is estimated from monthly average daily radiation data hp Ta I0 kt t k ksa array surface tilt angle from horizon monthly average hourly temperature the extraterrestrial radiation of an hour the ratio of the horizontal solar radiation to the extraterrestrial radiation the ratio of I to I 0 factor which accounts for the dependence of the array transmittance-absorptance product with solar radiation incidence angle capacity of PV module rated at standard testing conditions Wp IC I compared with traditional power generation technology.63 m (48 feet) by 21. diffuse. When the photovoltaic system is applied in buildings. The high cost necessitates that the design parameters. A grid connected photovoltaic system eliminates the need for a battery storage bank resulting in considerable reduction of the initial cost and maintenance cost. etc. the thermal solar modules are arranged on three roof zones of the building. The study of the thermal solar system and the justification for the proposed photovoltaic system replacement has been reported by (Gong and Kulkarni. submitted for publication). This paper discusses the photovoltaic energy conversion model and the methodology to optimize the array surface tilt angle. The electricity output of a PV array is directly proportional to the radiation input. precipitation. should be optimized. The Illinois Weather Bureau has recorded the detailed meteorological data for Carbondale from 1989. the hydronic thermal solar system on the building rooftop was shut down in 1995. Nevertheless. these are all secondary effects when compared with insolation intensity.67 m (35 feet) by 21. The photovoltaic system instead uses grid as a bank where the excess electric power can be deposited to and when necessary also withdrawn from. ambient air temperature and local humidity. Illinois. temperature and humidity data as shown in Table 1. Hundreds of thermal solar modules and the racks still remain on the roof. After 17 years of operation. array size and configuration. 2. The roof of this building was designed to have a slope of 42° to maximize the reception of solar radiation. such as surface tilt angle and array size. 1. The optimal PV system is designed and the anticipated PV operational problems such as the harmonic effects and anti-islanding are discussed. which can reduce the size of mounting structure and land requirements. humidity.X. The meteorological data such as air temperature. the PV modules usually are mounted on rooftop and facade. M. wind speed. Ten years of meteorological data (from 1991 to 2001. The dimension of east array is 14. Climate data The strength of solar radiation is the primary consideration in selecting location for PV installation. This paper presents the design optimization processes for a large-scale rooftop photovoltaic system.

The monthly average hourly array output..656 6. It is estimated from the monthly average daily radiation data given in Table 1. I C is calculated as the sum of three radiation components corresponding to the beam.031 23. 1982). can be determined by .364 X.845 2.400 3.283 7.100 5. Sept.600 18.. Table 1 Monthly average climate data for Carbondale. Gong.103 3. 1984).825 3. _ The monthly average diffuse fraction IId is developed by _ (Erbs et al. 1.724 6.941 4.789 13. PV energy conversion model The output of PV system can be estimated based on the methods developed by (Siegel et al.200 13.200 14. March April May June July Aug. and (Clark et al.900 4.714 Temperature (°C) À0.300 g E ¼ AI C k sa ð1Þ Various parameters that appear on the right hand side of the above equation are discussed next. Dec. Layout of thermal solar arrays on the rooftop of federal building. Nov.130 Humidity (g/kg dry air) 2. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 Fig.212 1.317 24. Feb.100 6.966 2.130 12.867 2. as I_d 2 3 ¼ 1:317 À 3:023K t þ 3:372K t À 1:769K t I_ ð3Þ 3. Oct. E. and ground-reflected radiation.956 18.. According to Duffie and Beckman (1991) I C can be expressed as     I_d I_d 1 þ cosðhp Þ Rb C þ I C ¼ I_ 1 À 2 I_ I_   1 À cosðhp Þ ð2Þ þq 2 where I_ is the monthly average hourly radiation per unit area on a horizontal surface.993 5. 1.900 3.753 3. diffuse. Parameter A is the array area which includes packing factor and I C is the long-time average hourly solar radiation per unit area incident on the array.800 10. 1981).405 6. Illinois Radiation (kWh/m2 * day) Jan.400 4.860 4. M.186 22.530 5.000 12.900 9.

The results are shown as Eq. (5) into Eq. The other terms in Eq. Whether the angle is the best angle to maximize the yearly power production? How much is the difference between the maximum power production at an optimal angle and the currently roof angle? Whether all the roof zones need to be used for PV installation? These questions shall be investigated. (1). The surface tilt angle indicates how far up from the horizontal a given surface is sloped. . (5). (2) above and the term I C in Eq. . (4). (6) through (11) into Eq. The integrals in Eq. due east is À90°.max k2 t ð11Þ By substituting Eq. hp the array tilt angle with respect to the horizontal. (6) through (8). and q the ground reflectance.max ð10Þ Z 0 k t. This concludes the explanation of all parameters in Eq. It can be evaluated by the following equation per (Siegel et al. north is 180°. 1960). C is the concentration ratio. Submitting the values of ksa. some diffuse radiation always exists even when the sky appears very clear. while direct radiation strikes array surface from only one angle. a1 ¼ ðRb CÞ2 þ qCð1 À cosðsÞÞRb þ a2 ¼ Rb Cð1 þ cosðhp Þ À 2Rb CÞ þ qð1 þ cosðhp Þ À 2Rb CÞ  2 1 þ cosðhp Þ À Rb C 2 1 À cosðhp Þ 2 ð7Þ q2 ð1 À cosðhp ÞÞ2 4 ð6Þ Z 0 k t. They can be evaluated by Eqs. respectively.max Z kt. This factor is evaluated by (Duffie and Beckman. 1984).. These parameters need to be optimized before designing a PV system. then plugging the Eq. while the azimuth angle denotes how the surface is located relative to the true north–south and east–west coordinates (due south represents an azimuth angle of 0°. (1) is a factor ksa which accounts for dependence of the array transmittance-absorptance product with solar radiation incidence angle. (4) has been evaluated by (Klein and Beckman. (4) are explained in the Nomenclature section. (1).Max I 2 P ðI C Þ dI C C 0 Z k t. 4. I0. Array surface tilt angle and array size are two important parameters in photovoltaic system. I C and A into Eq. g The one remaining term in Eq. 1983). Surface tilt angle optimization The radiation received by a PV array on earth can be divided into three categories: direct. The longterm probability distribution of kt is a known function k of t .max k 2 P ðk t Þ dk t ¼ À0:1551 þ 0:9226t k t k2 t   Id P ðk t Þ dk t ¼ 0:1456 þ 0:0544 lnðt Þ k I  2 Id P ðk t Þ dk t ¼ t ð0:2769 þ 0:3184t Þ k k I ð9Þ Z 0 k t. The parameter Rb in Eq. (5). a3 are constants for given hour and month. Gong. and three roof zones are available.Max sa Àb ð1 À gr gpt Þ ð4Þ I 2 P ðI C Þ dI C C ICU 0 Here T a is the monthly average hourly temperature which is estimated in terms of the monthly average daily temperature based on the model developed by (Erbs et al.max  2 Id þ a3 I 2 k2 P ðk t Þ dk t ð5Þ 0 t I 0 where kt is the ratio of horizontal solar radiation. A horizontal a3 ¼ ð8Þ The instantaneous diffuse fraction IId is a function of kt as explained by (Duffie and Beckman. g the monthly average hourly array output.max   Id 2 2 2 P ðk t Þ dk t ¼ a1 I 0 k t P ðk t Þ dk t þ a2 I 0 k2 t I 0 0 Z kt. (5) have been evaluated by (Liu and Jordan. The integral in Eq. 2001). The orientation of a surface on earth is defined by two angles: the surface tilt or slop angle and the surface azimuth angle. Now the parameter  in Eq. and reflected. The diffuse radiation approaches array surface from all unobstructed angles.. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 365 where K t is the average ratio of the horizontal solar radiation to the extraterrestrial radiation. 1981). M. and (Clark et al.. The parameters gr and gpt are array reference energy conversion efficiency and efficiency of the power tracking equipment. defined as t ¼ II . the slope angle of this building is 42°. and west is 90°).  thus can be obtained. I to the extraterrestrial radiation. Parameters a1. can now be determined. 1991). (1).X.1.  g ¼ gr gpt 1 À bðT a À T r Þ  Z I C. The selection of these parameters will greatly affect the system economics. which can be determined k 0 by daily radiation data listed in Table 1. a2. diffuse. is the average energy g conversion efficiency weighted in proportion to the solar radiation. Since the atmospheric constituents scatter a portion of the total beam radiation from the sun. 1991). E. Parameter optimization As mentioned in introduction section. 4. (2) is the ratio of beam radiation on the aperture plane to that on a horizontal surface. Z I C.

the receipt of radiation reflected off the ground increases. Using the climate data presented in Table 1 in the photovoltaic analysis software developed by Klein and Beckman. However. As shown in Table 2. M. such as in winter. 2. 1983) the optimal tilt angle for a south facing surface equals the siteÕs latitude. The incidence angle of sun hi depends on the geographical location (latitude 37°46 0 and longitude 89°14 0 ) and time of the year. and then decreases if the tilt angle increase. The surface tilt angle optimization can also be used to determine differential energy and cost savings at other angles. consequently. When a south-facing surface is tilted up from horizontal. it can be observed that the power output increases gradually from January to a maximum in July and then decreases gradually from July to December.6 m2. From Fig. . for a PV system this angle may not be the best because the efficiency of PV modules increases when the ambient temperature decrease. the lifetime cost savings for the optimal tilt angle 30° is about $4800 for the PV array of 954. 3 we can see that the output of PV array first increases with surface tilt angle up to an angle of 30° but then decreases as the tilt angle is increased further. respectively. 42° as reference. The PV outputs are plotted in Fig. However. 3. This surface would receive optimum amount of direct-beam solar radiation over the entire year. The aim of design optimization is to determine the optimal tilt angle hp for each season in order to obtain maximum output from the PV array. the thermal solar collectors lose significant amount of heat to environment. Gong. it can be observed that the roof angle of 42° for the Federal Building was designed for maximizing solar energy received in fall and winter. the amount of diffuse radiation received decreases. surface receives the maximum diffuse radiation but only a minimum reflected radiation. In addition. It should be noted that tilting a surface up from horizontal decreases the diffuse radiation and increases the reflection received from the ground which makes an optimum tilt angle for PV different that from the angle for Solar-Thermal. 2 and Fig. For the Federal Building in Carbondale the azimuth angle of building /p is zero. the PV electricity output from a 954. 2. a series of energy savings can be determined. Conversion efficiency of thermal solar collectors becomes lower. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 Fig. 37°46 0 .366 X. The best tilt angle in Carbondale is about 30°. At the same time. 4. 2001. According to Mathew (Buresch. Fig. the best tilt angle during the summer month is the siteÕs latitude angle À11°. These benefits then can be used to offset potential costs associated with any solar tracking mechanism for the PV panels. The lifetime differential saving increase with surface tilt angle until it reaches maximum at the angle of 30°. 3 for illustrating the effect of tilt angle on Monthly and Yearly PV output. The relationship of surface tilt angle and lifetime savings is plotted in Fig. Fig.6 m2 array at different tilt angles from 22° to 48° can be calculated. When compared with latitude angle of Carbondale. From Fig. In winter the radiation strength becomes lower. As explained before. Using the output at current roof angle. As compared with the PV output at current roof angle of 42°. 4 shows the same trend as Fig. If the maximum solar energy is expected to be received during the winter month. 3 shows that the current roof angle (42°) is not the best surface tilt angle for photovoltaic PV array in Carbondale. the lifetime (20 year) energy savings and monetary savings at other tilt angles are shown in Table 2. The effect of tilt angle on monthly PV output. the diffuse and reflected components of solar radiation were neglected in the above analysis. the surface tilt angle should approximately equal the latitude angle plus 11°.

It should be realized that significant savings can be achieved if the system design does not include a battery storage system. Gong.X. Two years of utility bills (year 2000 and 2001) for the Federal building were collected. Therefore the optimal PV system is one where the array output matches the electricity loads very well and the electricity sold to grid is minimized. baseline 420.21 kWh/h. Fig. energy price 9 ¢/kWh) Surface tilt angle 22° 24° 26° 28° 30° 32° 34° 36° 38° 40° 42° 44° 46° 48° Yearly total (kWh) 136919 137402 137747 137947 137995 137899 137667 137296 136784 136136 135340 134415 133357 132164 Yearly energy saving (kWh) 1579 2062 2407 2607 2655 2559 2327 1956 1444 796 0 À925 À1984 À3176 Lifetime energy savings (20 years) (kWh) 31578 41240 48132 52140 53104 51184 46544 39114 28888 15912 0 À18504 À39670 À63522 Lifetime cost savings ($) 2842 3712 4332 4693 4779 4607 4189 3520 2600 1432 0 À1665 À3570 À5717 4. the average photovoltaic electricity generation cost is about 12 ¢/kWh. The advantage of this system is that when array output surpasses the building electric load.07 kWh/h and off peak load is 48. The hourly normalized electricity demand (kWh/h) during the ‘‘on peak’’ and ‘‘off peak’’ periods is shown in Fig. Moreo- ver. Table 2 Differential energy and cost savings vs. The effect of tilt angle on yearly PV output. The electricity data was obtained from these bills. 5.2. Thus the load profile of the building and power output profile of proposed PV array should always be studied in combination. M. while the electricity bought from the grid costs almost 9 ¢/kWh (considering tax and the demand charge) in Midwest region. The electricity sold to the grid fetches about 4 ¢/kWh. However. the surplus electricity can be fed to grid. Array size optimization It is recommended that the PV system in Federal Building be a grid-connected system. The load reaches the lowest point in . there is another item to consider. The electricity sold can be taken as credit. 5 shows that the electric load reaches a peak in July when the on peak load is 40. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 367 Fig. When array output is less than building electric load. the grid can supply the make up electricity. 3. surface tilt angle (array area 954.6 m2.

M. surface tilt angle. It is reasonable because natural gas is used for both heating and domestic hot water boilers in this building. m is number of days in a year. As discussed earlier. The results are plotted in Fig. 6. fe is the effectiveness factor for a year. 7. . 5. Electric load profile of the building. temperature and humidity (Table 1) data are known. This effectiveness factor is equal to array output that is utilized by the building over total PV array output. either March or November. Therefore. Hourly PV output should match the electric load to increase the economic benefit of the investment. pin is hourly PV output. n is n number of hours in a day.368 X. The hourly load and daily radiation. The results are plotted in Fig. an effectiveness factor is defined. the array size should be optimized according to electric load profile of the building. ps is hourly electricity sold to the grid. Fig. The electricity generated by PV may be used by the building totally or partially. Gong. The effectiveness factors at different array areas can be determined when the electricity sold to the grid is known. the load is high in summer and low in spring and fall. The output of PV system changes hourly as well as loads. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 Fig. In order to study the utilization fraction of PV system. These data are applied to photovoltaic analysis model and the electricity sold and bought every month can be calculated. as shown in the following equation: R 365 0 fe ¼  24 P s P in À P n dm n¼0  24 n¼0  R 365 P i P n dm 0 n¼0  24 P ð12Þ Here. 4. Lifetime differential savings vs.

Fig. 6 also indicates that the ‘‘output’’. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 369 Fig. Performance of PV array at different area (tilt angle: 42° and 30°). even the array peak power output is less than average hourly load in August. 7 indicates that the effectiveness factor becomes lower when array area increases. A lower effectiveness factor means a longer payback time and lower usable fraction of PV array. To evaluate how much of the output is used by the building alone. the hourly power output in the daytime will become much less than the load. However. 6.969. From Fig. However. The effectiveness factor at 350 m2 is 0. when the array area is too small. the slope of this decrease is less than array output growth. ‘‘sell’’ and ‘‘buy’’ lines are almost identical when the tilt angles are 30° and 42°. This unmatched output vs. Gong. 7. the electricity sold to grid begins to increase sharply when array area is larger than 450 m2. 8. the effectiveness factor should be greater than 80%. Fig. So. 6 shows that the output of PV increases with the array area. When array area is larger than 600 m2.X. the effectiveness factor is less than 80%. Effectiveness factor at different array area (tilt angle: 42° and 30°). The situation is the same in January when both load and PV output are least in a year. load shows that the array . Hourly output and load are compared in Fig. the array area of proposed PV system for Federal Building should be less than 600 m2. it can be observed that for the array area of 350 m2. 8. A case study has been carried out when array area is 350 m2. Fig. the effectiveness factor must be considered. To enhance the investment benefit. The electricity bought from grid decreases with increasing array area. Fig. However. This can be seen from the slope difference of ‘‘buy line’’ and ‘‘output line’’. M.

it can be seen that when the array areas are between 400 m2 (fe = 0. Hourly array average output and load for the area of 350 m 2 (tilt angle = 42°). Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 Fig. is a reasonable choice for array area because some surplus power output during the peak hour can be made by taking advantage of large roof area available. 9.370 X. From Fig. 8. M. Electricity sold to grid at different array areas (tilt angle=42°). The monthly performance of PV array at different areas are evaluated and plotted out in Fig. 313 m2 and 415 m2 respectively. Gong. Fig. Considering the module size available in current market and the different dimensions of the two roofs. One is using only the southwest rooftop (95 0 · 47 0 . 9. 643 m2 and 728 m2. 1). Their areas are 228 m2. the electricity sold to the grid is kept to a minimum while ensuring that the peak power output of array is a bit larger than the load (power sold to the grid is positive). with a combined array area of 540 m2. These two zones are separated by walls and stair room. However. 540 m2 is the sum of east roof zone (228 m2) and Northwest roof zone (313 m2). This means that two separated arrays will need to be built. 313 m2) for PV array. 415 m2) for PV array and the other is to use both northwest rooftop (70 0 · 35 0 . The second option. The roof of the Federal building has three zones available for PV array installation (Fig.945) and 540 m2 (fe = 0. area is not big enough and part of available roof areas would be wasted. the profile of power sold to grid at each month needs to be considered. 228 m2) and east rooftop (70 0 · 48 0 . The combination of any two areas would be 541 m2. 9. Therefore. we designed several different array layout for these two zones and found that the array outputs .848). There are two feasible options in choosing array areas.

currents and power output would be different due to the dimension difference. Gong. it is recommended that a single array on the southwest roof zone (95 0 · 47 0 . For the large array areas.4 A 118. The additional inverter and transformer will be needed if two separated arrays are built. A 45 kW is selected for the system. They have the advantages in installation and maintenance. ASE Americas. 10.8 V 539. the result indicated that the peak power output is higher than load. which generated different type voltages and currents. Based on the above analysis. 600 V is recommended as upper limit for open circuit voltage in photovoltaic system. Moreover. Different array configurations have been tried. .1 0 · 95.8 0 48.1. The results are shown in Table 3.5 V 109. 10. an array combiner.55 kW 26.3 0 · 92.5 V Isc 142.6 A 162 A 72 A Fig. 5. Based on above two standards and comparing the array output volatges and currents listed in Table 3. The connecting wire will also be complicated because these two arrays are separated by stair room and walls.2.7 0 43. 415 m2) should be used. Therefore.5 0 · 93. Shell (Siemens) Solar. when the hourly load and output of 540 m2 array is studied. M. Solarex and United-Solar account for more than half of the United State photovoltaic market. According to National Electric Code.4 A 78.3 0 No.9 kW 44. BP Solar. of modules 288 154 297 228 Output 43. Module 1 is recommended for building the array. DC/AC disconnect switches. The types of the modules vary from several watts to hundreds of watts. Scheme of grid connected photovoltaic system.5 0 47. Grid connected photovoltaic system A grid connected photovoltaic system is designed as shown in Fig.8 A 25. an isolation transformer (208 V/480 V).X.2 kW 43.6 0 · 89. Further. The sizes vary from several square inches per module to 3500 square inches per module. The chief components in this system are: 288 modules of type 1. System design and consideration At current photovoltaic market.5 V 927. 5. electric meters. the big module is the best choice. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 371 such as voltages. Array configuration Four large size PV modules in the current market were compared in order to setup an array of 415 m2 (95 0 · 47 0 ). 150 A is recommended as the maximum acceptable short current for 45 kW inverter.3 A Voc 583 V 745. 5. a 45 kW inverter (output 208 V).5 kW Vmp 414 V 555 V 374 V 570 V Imp 104. we find that Module 1 may be the best choice. Table 3 Array configuration comparison Module Module Module Module Module 1 2 2 3 Size 41.

3 0 ). The selected 45 kW inverter utilizes loop IGBT PWM drive circuits in converting DC to AC. This current flows to the inverter and is converted to 208 V AC current. An island condition is defined as grid tied inverter maintaining operation and supporting a load that has been isolated from the utility power source.372 X. actual array size 361. Higher switching frequencies result in higher power quality. Needless to say. array conversion efficiency Fig. 5. however. it may damage the equipments in HVAC systems of the building. Gong. The voltage of AC current rises to 480 V after the isolation transformer and then is connected to 480 V Building bus by disconnection switch. the major trade-offs that influence power quality are the transistor switching frequency used and the output filter components. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 etc.2 kW PV system.7 0 · 93. Applying climate data (Table 1). Operational considerations Harmonic effect. the balanced load may be capable of maintaining inverter operation in the absence of grid. This algorithm will bring the inverter off-line. when power outage happens. Islanding possibility. The requirements are too restrictive to be realizable. Otherwise. This requires the load to be closely balanced to the output power of the inverter as well as having a resonant frequency close to 60 Hz. M. The ripple currents created in the DC to AC conversion processes should be filtered and the distortion of inverter output current should be within the range of the requirements. it is at the expense of higher switching losses. The sensors on the roof measure the insolation and climate data and feed it to data acquisition system. 11. This unit includes an AC line filter that removes harmonic currents and high frequency harmonic current components at the utility system interface to control current quality. The quality of power generated by grid-connected PV systems must meet utility power requirement in order to be accepted by the grid. which are specified in the IEEE 519 Recommended Practice. Hourly output simulation of the 43. islanding operation shall be avoided.2 m2 (41. The DC currents generated by the PV array are organized by combiner to form a more powerful DC current. Performance simulation and economic analysis Now the output of this PV system design can be simulated using the photovoltaic energy conversion model. Islanding phenomenon refers to the possibility of an inverter causing a utility island operation when a utility power outage occurs. which destabilizes a balanced load. . When a topology of circuit is selected. When the frequency of output power of inverter diverges far away from 60 Hz and become unstable. The 45 kW inverter selected in this system contains an active phase-shift-loop algorithm.3. which records the operational status of PV array simultaneously. The meters in the system record the power generated by PV array and the power bought from the grid. 6.

the yearly generation of this system is 59. Economic analysis has been carried out with results shown as follows: PV array size 361. total cost of installation of this PV system can be obtained. the following conclusions can be reached: • Array surface tilt angle affects PV system output. about 55. Conclusions This paper described the PV energy conversion model and presented design optimization processes for a largescale photovoltaic system on the rooftop of a Federal office building. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 373 Fig. M. Comparing output at tilt angle. the project does qualify for the grant of 60% project cost from the Renewable Energy initiative of the Illinois State and 20% project cost from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. the optimal PV array surface tilt angle is close to the siteÕs latitude.622 kWh. 11. When azimuth angle of building is zero (Building facing south).825 kWh (about 56. The array output can be used almost completely by the building in the peak months of summer. 11. Out of this total output.622 kWh Effectiveness factor 93% Annual benefit $5161 PV system expected life 20 years PV modules $165. the yearly generation of this system is 60.425 PV system cost (after grant) $65. From the market survey. 11 and 12. The electricity price is roughly 9 ¢/kWh in southern Illinois region.2 kW grid connected photovoltaic system was designed and its performance at local climate conditions was simulated.2 m2 PV module efficiency 11. Gong.025 Power conditioning devices $55.521 kWh is used by the building itself and 4101 kWh is sold to the grid.6years 7. the performance of this system can be evaluated. .955 kWh is used by the building and 3870 kWh is sold to the grid). and other cost $24. Based on the. In addition. it can be seen that output of PV array reaches peak point in July where the load is close to the peak of a year.91%. but somewhat less than the siteÕs latitude.2 kW PV Array.085 System simple payback time (considering grant) 12. we find that arrayÕs yearly output at optimal tilt angle is 1203 kWh higher than that at current roof angle 42°.X. The hourly output simulation of the proposed PV system is plotted in a 3-D graph as shown in Fig. 12.96% PV array peak power output 43.200 W Annual PV system output 59. The best PV array surface tilt angle is 300 in Carbondale.900 Design and installation $32. The output difference between these two different tilt angles accounts for 2. while the average price for the power sold to the grid is 4 ¢/kWh. The output peak months of PV system correspond to the on-peak months stipulated by a regional utility company from June to September. The monthly performance of the system is shown in Fig. Illinois rather than the current roof tilt angle of 42°.0% of array yearly output. and the tilt angle of 42° into the simulation software. The operational problems of the photovoltaic system were discussed and economic analysis was performed. Performance calculations show that when array tilt angle is 42°.400 Insurance. 12. 30° with that at 42°. Monthly performance simulation of the 43. A 43.400 Support structure and wiring material $47. From Figs.700 PV system total cost $325. When array tilt angle is 30°.

and Market Trends in the U.. 551–555.gov/cneaf/solar. R.. Klein. In this proposed system. • Inverter is a key equipment in the grid connected photovoltaic system. 413–418.A.. 293. The utilization fraction (effectiveness factor) for the power generated by photovoltaic system should be larger than 80%. B. Jordan. Erbs.374 X. D. Beckman. Kulkarni / Solar Energy 78 (2005) 362–374 • To enhance economic benefits of the photovoltaic system. Klein. 1984. 1991. W. Klein.doe. The estimation of degree-days and ambient temperature bin data from monthly average temperatures. ISBN 0-07-008952-3. J. Liu. Photovoltaic Energy Systems.C.. the effectiveness factor is 93%... the array output should match the electric load of the building.A.S. 1981.. D.A. Wiley-Interscience.A.. Estimation of the diffuse radiation fraction for hourly. UserÕs manual. ASHRAE Journal. Technology. An effectiveness factor was introduced.. . References Clark. M. Siegel.A. D. 1960. and monthly average global radiation.. 2003. S.H. Buresch.A.. S.A. Klein. W. 1983. W. J. M..A. Kulkarni.A. daily.. A simplified method for estimating the monthly average performance of photovoltaic systems. W. Department of EnergyÕs Rebuild America and also from the Bureau of Energy & Recycling of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) is greatly appreciated.R.eia. M.A. Qualified inverters should utilize technical procedures to reduce harmonic effects while satisfying the requirements of the grid and should also possess the functional capability of anti-islanding. S.Y.D. Energy Conversion & Management. PV-F Chart Photovoltaic System Analysis.... Solar Energy 26. A proper inverter enables the stable and reliable operation of a PV system. Website: http://www. S. Beckman. Comparison of a hydronic thermal solar system with photovoltaic system—a special case study.renewables/rea_issues/solar. 1982. Acknowledgments The grant support provided by the Energy Efficiency Initiative by U. Klein. diffuse.. Solar Energy 28. Gong. Holihan. Erbs. W.G. Manufacturing. P. M. New York. Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes. using the proposed photovoltaic system to provide electricity for the Federal building is feasible both in terms of technology and economics.A. Gong.. Duffie. html. Array size shall be decided according to the available roof area and the effectiveness factor.Y.A.R. 1983.. Duffie.S. Solar Energy 33. Second Ed.. • Under the current incentive from the renewable energy initiative of Illinois State. Solar Energy 4 (3). Beckman. X. A method for estimating the performance of photovoltaic systems. submitted for publication. 2001. and total solar radiation. and International Photovoltaics Industry.. Beckman. McGraw-Hill Book Company. Beckman. Software. S. The interrelationship and characteristic distribution of direct.G.

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