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VIII.

PV BASED POWER SYSTEM FOR A RURAL COMMUNITY

1. Needs of renewable energy


The need for alternative energy sources is getting urgent, hence the development of
renewable energy is moving fast. Nationally and internationally various individuals and research
companies are creating new and exciting energy systems. Some of these apparatus are great
works and need improving for massive use. Politician's world-wide are drafting policies and are
making agreements to make greater use of these energy sources.
The first problem is that the fossil fuels are depleting in a rapid rate and are harder to
retrieve. The consequence is that we can be facing an energy crisis in the future is we are not
careful today. The energy prices will sky rocket and not be available for many individuals or
countries. To avoid this doom scenario we need to find alternatives and used them to their full
potential. Luckily this is already happening.
The second problem is that the fossil fuels that are widely used today are harmful for the
environment. In the early seventies and eighties there were people and even scientist who preach
otherwise, but today the negative effects are showing. The earth is warming up and climates are
changing. There are parts in the world were there be more rain and sunshine and others parts will
become dryer then they already are. Another negative effect is that the ozone layer is getting
thinner which also leads to a warming up of the earth. These two effects complement each other
and make it even more crucial to make another step in a different direction. This step will lead us
to the use of renewable energy.
Another problem lies in the development of small economies. Because the energy prices
for crude oil are going through the roof, these countries suffer even more. Many of these
countries need crude oil for their electricity and means of transportation. These high oil prices
have their effect on almost everything. The monthly electricity costs for households increase
among others like transport cost and prices for basic products. Hence, these high oil prices make
it harder for these small countries to grow their economies.
The solution for the above problems can be resolved by renewable energy. Our beautiful
planet gives us the opportunity to make proper us of sunlight, flowing water, strong winds, and
hot springs and convert these into energy. These energy sources are abundant and free to use. We
must be sure that we convert the energy the right way, without causing other problems that can
again hurt our environment. Luckily the many efforts by individuals and companies show that
this can be done.

2. Consumption of electric power specific to rural areas for irrigation purpose


Irrigation pumps of relatively low power can be driven directly by a vapour turbine using
solar energy.
i)
Low temperature solar engine:
A low temperature solar engine, using heated water from flat plate collector and butane as
the working fluid is shown in the fig below

Water circuit

Vapour
Solar
Radiations

Flat
Plate
Collectors

Butane
Boiler

Water pump
Turbine

Pump

Exhaust vapour

Water

Condenser
Organic working fluid
Water for
Irrigation purpose

Well

The system has array of flat plate collectors to heat water upto nearly 700C and in the heat
exchanger, the heat of water is used for boiling butane.
The pressure butane runs a butane turbine which operates a hydraulic pump which pumps
the water from well and used for irrigation.
The exhaust butane vapour from butane turbine is condensed with the help of water
which is pumped by the pump.
This condensate is fed to the heat exchanger or butane boiler.

ii)

High temperature solar engine:

Vapour
Thermal
Storage

Toluene
Boiler

Pump

Water pump
Turbine

Exhaust vapour

Water

Condenser
Organic working fluid
Water for
Irrigation purpose

Deeper
Well

For deep wells, pumps of higher power are required and these are preferably operated by
electric motors.
In a deep well irrigation project, solar energy is used to heat hydrocarbon oil about 2900C
by passage through an array of parabolic trough type concentrating collectors.
The heat fluid passes by way of a thermal storage tank, to a heat exchanger where toluene
is boiled to provide vapour for operating a turbine generator combination.
Pumped water is used as coolant in the turbine condenser, and the temperature is more
like a conventional plant.
The electric power which can be generated is of the order of 150 kW drives electric
motors to operate deep well pumps.

3. Basics of photovoltaic systems


3.1
Introduction
The direct conversion of solar energy into electrical energy by means of photovoltaic
effect i.e. conversion of light into electricity.
The photovoltaic effect is defined as the generation of an electromotive force as a result
of the absorption of ionizing radiation.
Energy conversion devices which are used to convert sunlight to electricity by the use of
the photovoltaic effect are called solar cells.
A single converter cell is called a solar cell or photovoltaic cell and combination such
cells designed to increase the electric power output is called a solar module or solar array.
Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconductors that generate electricity when they absorb
light.
As photons are received, free electrical charges are generated that can be collected on
contacts applied to the surface of semiconductors.
Since solar cells are not heat engines, they operate at room temperature.
The best known application of photovoltaic cells for electrical power generation has been
in space craft for which the silicon solar cell is most highly developed type.
Photovoltaic cells could be applicable to either small or large power plants, since they
function well on small scale, and may be adoptable to local energy generation on building
roof tops.
Solar cells have also been used to operate irrigation pumps, navigational signals, highway
emergency call systems, rail road crossing warnings, automatic metrological stations etc.
A PV system consists of solar cell array, load leveler, storage systems and tracking
systems where necessary.
Solar cells are connected in series or parallel combinations to form modules.
Solar PV system can produce an output only if sunlight is present.
If it is required to be used during non sunshine hours, a suitable system of storage
batteries will be required.
3.2

i)
ii)
iii)

i)
ii)
iii)

Solar cell principle


To obtain a useful power output from photon interaction in a semiconductor 3 process are
required:
The photons have to be absorbed in the active part of the material and result in electron
being excited to a higher energy potential.
The electron hole charge carrier created by the absorption must be physically separated
and moved to the edge of the cell.
The charge carriers must be removed from the cell and delivered to a useful load before
they lose their extra potential.
For completing the 3 processes a solar cell consists of
Semiconductor in which electron hole pairs are created by absorption of incident solar
radiation.
Region containing a drift field for charge separation
Charge collecting front and back electrodes

The photovoltaic effect can be easily for p n junction in a semiconductor device.


A semiconductor with one side of the p-type and the other of the n-type is called a p-n
junction.
In this junction after the photons are absorbed, the free electrons of the n-side will tend to
flow to the p-side, and the holes of the p-side will tend to flow to the n-region.
This diffusion will create an electric field from the n-region to p-region.
Electrical contacts are made with the two semiconductor materials and the contacts are
connected through an external circuit conductor.
The flow of electrons through the external conductor constitutes an electric current which
will continue as long as more free electrons and holes are being formed by the solar
radiation.
Each of the individual solar cells will produce power at about 0.5 V.

3.3
A basic PV system for power generation
A basic photovoltaic system integrated with the utility grid is shown in fig below

From utility
Feeder
Blocking
Diode
Solar cell
Array

Inverter
Converter

Battery
Storage

Local
Load

It permits electrical energy generated by solar energy to be delivered to a local load.


It consists of;
i)
Solar array
ii)
A blocking diode
iii)
Battery storage
iv)
Inverter/ converter
i)
Solar array:
There may be tracking arrays or fixed arrays.
A tracking array is defined as one which is always kept mechanically perpendicular to the
sun array line so that it intercepts the maximum isolation.
Such arrays must be physically movable by a suitable prime mover.
A fixed array is usually oriented east west and tilted up at an angle approximately equal
to the latitude of the site.
ii)
A blocking diode:
It lets the array generated power flow only toward the battery or grid.
Without a blocking diode the battery would discharge back through the solar array during
times of no isolation.
iii)
Battery storage:
It stores the electrical energy generated by solar energy
Solar cell produces the DC current required for battery charging.
The stored energy can then be delivered as electricity upon discharging.
iv)
Inverter/ converter:
These are the devices usually solid state, which change the array DC output to AC
suitable voltage, frequency and phase to feed photovoltaically generated power into the
power grid or local load.
3.4

3.4

Applications
1. Water pumping sets for micro irrigation and drinking water supply.
2. Radio signals for ship navigation at ports.
3. Community radio and television sets.
4. Weather monitoring.
5. Railway signaling equipment.
6. Battery charging.
7. Street lighting
8. Cathodic protection of oil pipe lines.
Advantages

1. Direct room temperature conversion of light to electricity through a simple solid state
device.
2. Absence of moving parts.
3. Maintenance cost is low as they are easy to operate.
4. They do not create pollution.
5. They are highly reliable.
6. They consume no fuel to operate as the suns energy is free.
7. They have long effective life.
8. They have high power to weight ratio.
9. It reduces the problem of power distribution.
10. They can be used anywhere where there is availability of sunlight.
3.5
Disadvantages
1. High initial cost
2. In many applications energy storage is required.
3. It requires technological innovations to improve the performance.
4. Simple photovoltaic system for lighting and pumping
4.1
Lighting purpose
A solar PV light comprises of a small solar PV panel, a rechargeable battery, a charge
controller and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).
The solar panel absorbs the solar radiations during day time and converts it into electrical
power.
This output power is stored in the battery, so that it can be used during night time.
The purpose of charge controller is to protect the battery from over charging and
discharging.
Batteries used in solar lights are sealed, they are maintenance free batteries.
They have life of 4 6 years.
The solar panel has a life of 20 30 years.
Handle
CFL

Charge
Controller
Solar
PV Panel

Storage
Battery

ON/ OFF
Switch

The electricity stored in battery gives output for 5 6 hours.


The size of PV panel should be equal to the wattage rating of CFL used.

4.2

Water pumping purpose

MPPT/
Inverter

Water
Pump

Moto
r

Solar PV
module

Storage Tank

Well

A PV water pump consists of PV modules, motor, pump and storage tank


The PV module absorbs the solar radiations and converts it into electrical power.
The motor used to pump the water from well can be DC motor or AC motor.
DC motor can be directly coupled to panel
AC motor can be used with inverters,