Performance analysis of grid-tied photovoltaic micro-inverters

Torres, Jordan Shoichi
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Hawaii is the most petroleum dependent state in the nation. Despite having an abundance of natural resources, 94 percent of Hawaii's primary energy was derived from imported oil in 2010 [1]. "Residential consumers in Hawaii pay twice the national average for electricity and almost three times the national average (per BTU) for total energy consumed in homes" [2]. Decreasing Hawaii's dependency on imported fossil fuels will put the state on the path of increased independence from fluctuating oil prices and availability, as well as decreasing the pollution associated with the burning of oil. The burning of oil at power plants and the combustion of gasoline for transportation emits harmful pollutants into the atmosphere promoting global warming which is detrimental to the earth's atmosphere and have negative effects on human well-being. These negative impacts associated with Hawaii's fossil fuel dependence create the necessity for a change in Hawaii's primary energy source. Renewable energies are a potential solution to increase the state's energy security, which would increase economical stability. Renewable portfolio standards were established to provide states with a mechanism to increase renewable energy generation while using a costeffective, market-based approach that is administratively efficient [3]. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) established in 2008 promotes reduced energy consumption through building and household efficiency and increased deployment of renewable energy generation technologies. The goal of the initiative is to reduce fossil fuel use by 70% clean energy by 2030 with 30% from efficiency measures and 40% coming from locally generated renewable sources [4]. In 2009, Hawaii consumed 269.8 Trillion Btu, (249.8 Trillion Btu from non-renewable energy and 20 Trillion Btu from renewable energies) [5]. The 20 Trillion Btu of renewable energies is further broken down into: 4.4% from biomass, 0.4% from hydropower, 1% from wind, 0.6% from geothermal and 1% from solar [5]. The grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system is one way of harnessing solar energy which is growing in popularity among residential applications. Grid-tied PV systems are a convenient renewable energy option available for residential applications in Hawaii for its scalability factor as well as the lack of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that is required for larger renewable energies like wind, geothermal and hydroelectric powers. Residential grid-tied PV systems are composed of solar panels or PV modules that convert the solar energy to electricity which are connected to the grid via a conditioning system (inverters) as illustrated in Figure 1. Hawaii has recently seen a drastic increase in residential PV installations as a result of high electric rates and substantial tax credit incentives. Micro-inverter technology is the popular choice for the residential or small capacity systems (<10 kW). This thesis presents the design, fabrication, testing and analysis from the data collected by the measurement boxes deployed at the PWW PV test-bed on the Big Island of Hawaii. Chapter 2 explains how the PV technology works and the characteristics associated with the module performance. The micro-inverter's functions and performance parameters are described in Chapter 3. The design, fabrication and calibration of the measurement devices at the PWW test-bed are specified in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 introduces the recorded data from the measurement boxes and evaluates the micro-inverter performance from the test-bed. Lastly, the observations and conclusions made from the inverter analysis are presented in Chapter 6, followed by the future work in Chapter 7.
M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
grid-tied photovoltaic micro-inverters
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