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Proceedings Paper

Reliability of hybrid photovoltaic DC micro-grid systems for emergency shelters and other applications
Author(s): Neelkanth G. Dhere; Susan Schleith
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Paper Abstract

Improvement of energy efficiency in the SunSmart Schools Emergency Shelters requires new methods for optimizing the energy consumption within the shelters. One major limitation in current systems is the requirement of converting direct current (DC) power generated from the PV array into alternating current (AC) power which is distributed throughout the shelters. Oftentimes, this AC power is then converted back to DC to run certain appliances throughout the shelters resulting in a significant waste of energy due to DC to AC and then again AC to DC conversion. This paper seeks to extract the maximum value out of PV systems by directly powering essential load components within the shelters that already run on DC power without the use of an inverter and above all to make the system reliable and durable. Furthermore, additional DC applications such as LED lighting, televisions, computers and fans operated with DC brushless motors will be installed as replacements to traditional devices in order to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Cost of energy storage technologies continue to decline as new technologies scale up and new incentives are put in place. This will provide a cost effective way to stabilize the energy generation of a PV system as well as to provide continuous energy during night hours. It is planned to develop a pilot program of an integrated system that can provide uninterrupted DC power to essential base load appliances (heating, cooling, lighting, etc.) at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) command center for disaster management. PV arrays are proposed to be installed on energy efficient test houses at FSEC as well as at private homes having PV arrays where the owners volunteer to participate in the program. It is also planned to monitor the performance of the PV arrays and functioning of the appliances with the aim to improve their reliability and durability. After a successful demonstration of the hybrid DC microgrid based emergency shelter together with the monitoring system, it is planned to replicate it at other schools in Florida and elsewhere to provide continuous power for essential applications, maximizing the value of PV generation systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2014
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9179, Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems VII, 91790F (8 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2083284
Show Author Affiliations
Neelkanth G. Dhere, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
Susan Schleith, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9179:
Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems VII
Neelkanth G. Dhere, Editor(s)

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