Planning of a residential photovoltaic system

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Dr. Hartmann Bálint
Department of Electric Power Engineering

Based on forecasts in the next few decades the presence of renewable energy and photovoltaic systems are going to be more significant year by year on the energy market in Hungary. I became part of this rapidly evolving industry during my internship and part-time job at Etapp-Energy Kft. where I had the opportunity to take part in the complete process of designing and building a 50 kW photovoltaic system on a warehouse in Balatonvilágos of Gyümölcsért Ltd.

In the first phase of our project I created our tender for the investing company. First of all I designed the whole construction of the system based on the previous measurement process of the warehouse. The construction designing included the sizing and the choosing process of the proper number and type of inverters and modules. To determine the optimal position of the field I created a 3D model of the building and its surrounding environment using a modeling software called SketchUp in which I performed a shadow analysis with the help of Skelion program extension. As part of the tender I made a forecast of the expected electricity production of the photovoltaic system, a budget estimation of the project and created a detailed price list which my employer approved and later the investor accepted.

In the next phase of my work I examined the possible string constructions and parameters of the given system with the help of my colleagues then determined the optimal construction. After the final structure has been determined my next task was to design and size cables and electrical equipment on the DC and on the AC side also. The electrical plan has been made so our next task was to accomplish the installation of the system.

During the installation phase I worked in a team with 4 of my colleagues. First of all, we started building the mounting structure on the roof of the warehouse in Balatonvilágos. Our next move was to fix the modules and connect the modules into strings. After this we installed the inverters, electrical equipment and the cables as it was planned earlier then connected the elements of the whole system properly to each other. Afterwards we installed the photovoltaic system successfully we connected the given system to the grid, set up the online monitoring system and handovered the already functioning system to the investor.

Following the successful installation, I created an economic analysis using a software called System Advisor Model in which I compared the economic parameters of our installed system taking into account only the next 20 years of service to the parameters of another similar system that would have been built up with power optimizer devices. I determined that our installed system has a lower payback time and will produce more cumulative net profit over 20 years than the similar system with the power optimizer devices so our already installed photovoltaic system proves to be a better investment in my calculations.


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