System Components and Configurations

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1 Chapter 4 System Components and Configurations Major Components Balance-of-System System Classifications and Designs 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar

2 Overview Identifying major PV system components and their functions, including PV modules and arrays, energy storage, power conditioning equipment and other energy sources. Discussing the key trends and sources of U.S. energy supply and consumption. Identifying the key components of the electrical utility system and the differences between centralized and distributed power generation. Identifying the basic types of stand-alone and interactive PV systems, their operating principles and major components Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-2

3 Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Solar PV systems are electrical generators that produce energy for electrical loads and may interface with other electrical systems. Energy Source Power Conditioning Power Distribution Electrical Load PV Array Inverter Load Center Energy Conversion Energy Storage (optional) Battery Electric Utility 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-3

4 Major System Components Photovoltaic (PV) Array An assembly of PV modules that convert sunlight to DC electricity. Power Conditioning Equipment Inverters, chargers and controllers that process DC power from PV arrays and produce AC power for utilization loads. Energy Storage Batteries store energy produced by PV arrays, and are used in most stand-alone systems, but only in specially-designed grid-tied systems Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-4

5 PV System Components PV modules and array 2. Combiner box 3. DC disconnect 4. Inverter (charger & controller) 5. AC disconnect 6. Utility service panel 7. Battery (optional) 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-5

6 Balance-of-System Components Balance-of-System (BOS) Components Mechanical or electrical equipment and hardware used to assemble and integrate major components, and to conduct, distribute and control the flow of power in the system. Examples of BOS components include: Conductors (wiring) Raceways (conduit) Junction and combiner boxes Disconnect switches Fuses and circuit breakers Terminals and connectors Array mounting hardware 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-6

7 PV Modules and Arrays PV modules are assembled electrically and mechanically to form an integrated DC power supply. An array is the total DC power generating unit designed to produce a specified electrical output. PV Module PV Array 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-7

8 Energy Storage Batteries are the primary type of energy storage used in PV systems, and transform electrical and chemical energy. Other types of energy storage systems include: Flywheels store kinetic energy Supercapacitors store electrical charge Fuels store chemical energy Hydroelectric dams and compressed air systems store potential energy 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-8

9 Batteries Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries are used in most standalone PV systems to store energy from the PV array and establish the operating voltage for DC utilization equipment, such as inverters or DC loads. Lead-acid batteries are the most common type used in PV systems. Sealed Lead-Acid 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-9

10 Power Conditioning Equipment Power conditioning equipment converts, controls or processes the DC power produced by PV arrays, for interfacing with electrical loads, utilization equipment or other electrical systems. Power conditioning equipment includes: Inverters Charge controllers Battery chargers DC-DC converters Maximum power point trackers 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-10

11 Inverters Stand-Alone Inverters Operate from batteries and supply power independent of the utility grid. Utility-Interactive or Grid-Connected Inverters Operate from PV arrays and supply power in parallel with the utility grid. Bi-Modal or Battery-Based Interactive Inverters Operate as diversionary charge controllers, and produce AC power output to regulate PV array battery charging when the grid is energized. Transfer PV system operation to stand-alone mode and provide backup electric power to critical loads when the utility grid is not energized 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-11

12 Inverters Bi-Modal Inverter Interactive Inverter Stand-Alone Inverter 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-12

13 Charge Controllers A charge controller regulates battery charging by limiting the charging current from a PV array, and protects a battery from overcharge. 48 V / 40 A Charge Controller A load controller regulates battery discharge current by disconnecting electrical loads, and protects a battery from overdischarge. A diversion charge controller regulates battery charging by diverting power to a DC diversion load or grid-connected inverter. 12 V / 10 A Charge Controller 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-13

14 Battery Chargers Battery chargers are commonly used in stand-alone hybrid and UPS systems where an AC power source is available, such as a generator or the utility grid. Integral Inverter/Charger Many stand-alone inverters have a built-in battery charger. Separate Charger Xantrex/Schneider Electric 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-14

15 Uninterruptible Power Supplies An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is an emergency power system that supplies electrical loads when the primary source of power is lost. Typically includes a battery, charger, inverter and automatic transfer switch. Grid-connected PV systems with battery storage are a type of UPS system, transferring loads to the battery-inverter system when the grid de-energizes. Unlike most UPS systems, the PV array still charges the batteries and extends load operating time Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-15

16 Maximum Power Point Trackers Maximum power point trackers (MPPTs) are electronic devices that operate PV modules or arrays at their maximum power output. MPPT Controller MPPT functions are included in all interactive inverters and in some battery charge controllers. Module MPPT Also used at the PV module and source circuit level for some applications. Outback Power Systems SolarMagic/National Semiconductor 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-16

17 Electrical Loads Electrical loads include DC or AC appliances or utilization equipment that consumes power. DC loads typically operate from batteries and are used in some small stand-alone PV systems, such as for lighting. AC loads are powered by inverters, generators or the utility grid. Electrical loads are characterized by their operating voltage (AC or DC), power and energy consumption. E = P t where E = load energy consumption (kwh/day) P = load average power (kw) t = load operating time (hrs/day) 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-17

18 Energy Sources Basic forms of energy include thermal, chemical, electrical, kinetic and potential energy sources: Solar radiation Fuels (biomass, fossil and alternative fuels) Radioactive materials Hydro and geothermal Energy sources can be converted from one form to another with various energy conversion devices. Steam, combustion and wind turbines Electrical generators Fuel cells PV devices 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-18

19 The Energy Dilemma 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-19

20 U.S. Energy Consumption U.S Energy consumption is growing at extraordinary rates. The turning point: production peaks, consumption exceeds production DOE/EIA 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-20

21 U.S. Energy Flow Quadrillion Btu [2007] DOE/EIA 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-21

22 U.S. Electricity Flow Quadrillion Btu [2007] DOE/EIA 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-22

23 Central Power Generation Most power generation is centralized in remote areas and transmitted over the grid to consumers in population areas. A large percentage of the energy content in the fuel goes unutilized. CO 2 + Pollution 67% Waste Heat Fuel 100% Power Plant 33% Electricity (Remote from thermal users) Thomas Casten 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-23

24 Combined Heat and Power Combined heat and power (CHP) systems utilize waste heat from electrical power generation for other purposes. CO 2 + Pollution 10% Waste Heat Electricity Fuel 100% CHP Plants 90% Steam (located close to thermal users) Chilled Water Thomas Casten 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-24

25 Electrical Generators Most electrical power is produced from synchronous generators that are mechanically driven by turbines or engines. A typical generator consists of an electromagnet, called the field or rotor, which rotates inside a coil of wire with an iron core, called the stator Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-25

26 Engine Generators Engine generators use internal combustion engines to drive electrical generators, and are often used in conjunction with off-grid PV systems Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-26

27 Combustion Turbines Combustion turbines are large power generators that are similar to jet engines. Caterpillar/Solar Turbines 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-27

28 Microturbines Microturbines are small gas turbine generators adapted for distributed power and CHP applications. Ingersoll-Rand 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-28

29 Wind Turbines Small wind turbines are sometimes used in stand-alone off-grid PV applications. Large turbines and wind farms are becoming increasing popular for utility-scale power generation. Southwest Windpower 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-29

30 Stirling Engines Stirling engines use an external heat source, such as concentrated solar energy, to compress a gas which expands to produce mechanical shaft power to drive an electrical generator. NREL/Bill Timmerman 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-30

31 Fuel Cells Fuel cells convert chemical to electrical energy directly. Most fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce heat, water and DC electricity. Heat Hydrogen Oxygen Fuel Cell DC Electricity Water 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-31

32 Electric Utility System The electric utility system consists of three principal parts: Generation Transmission Distribution 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-32

33 Types of PV Systems Stand-Alone Systems Operate autonomously off-grid. Typically use batteries for energy storage. Sizing is based on electrical loads. Interactive Systems Operate in parallel with the electric utility grid. Intended to supplement site energy use from utility. Operation is independent of electrical loads. Do not generally use batteries or provide backup for utility power Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-33

34 Direct-Coupled Stand-Alone Systems Direct-coupled PV systems are the most basic type of stand-alone system. A DC load is matched and directly connected to a PV module or array. Uses no energy storage. Load only operates when sun is shining. Water Pump or Ventilation Fan PV Array DC Load 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-34

35 Stand-Alone PV System with Battery Storage Most stand-alone PV systems use batteries to store energy produced by the array for use by loads as required. A self-regulating PV system does not use charge control, but the battery is susceptible to overcharge and overdischarge. PV Array Battery DC Load Maximum charge must be limited, typically lower voltage modules are used. Battery must be oversized in relation to PV array charge rates and daily load energy. Load must be well-defined, operate daily and not subject to user control Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-35

36 Stand-Alone PV Systems with Charge Control A charge controller is required in most PV systems using batteries to protect from overcharge and overdischarge, and may also provide load control functions. PV Array Charge Controller DC Load Battery 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-36

37 Stand-Alone PV Systems with Charge Control Charge controller protects battery from overcharge by PV array PV Array Charge Controller Battery Battery is not protected from overdischarge by load. DC Load 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-37

38 Stand-Alone PV Systems with Charge and Load Control This controller protects battery from overcharge This controller protects battery from overdischarge PV Array Charge Controller Load Controller DC Load Battery 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-38

39 Stand-Alone PV Systems with Multiple Charge Controllers PV Subarray #1 Charge Controller #1 PV Subarray #2 Charge Controller #2 Battery PV Subarray #3 PV Subarray #4 Charge Controller #3 DC Load or Inverter One subarray may be directly connected to battery without charge control if charge rates <= 3% of battery capacity Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-39

40 Stand-Alone PV Systems with Diversionary Charge Control This controller protects the battery when the diversion load is unavailable PV Array Charge Controller Battery Diversionary controller protects the battery from overcharge by diverting power to a diversionary load Diversion Controller Diversion Load 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-40

41 Stand-Alone PV Systems with AC Loads PV Array Charge Controller DC Load Battery Inverter/ Charger AC Load AC Source (to Charger Only) 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-41

42 Hybrid System PV Array Charge Controller DC Load Battery Engine/Wind Generator Inverter/ Charger AC Load 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-42

43 Utility-Interactive PV System AC Loads PV Array Inverter Load Center Electric Utility 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-43

44 Utility-Interactive PV System with Energy Storage Backup AC Loads Bypass circuit Primary AC Loads Critical Load Sub Panel AC Out Inverter/ Charger AC In Main Panel DC In/out PV Array Charge Control Battery Electric Utility 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-44

45 Bi-Modal System 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-45

46 Summary Major components used in PV systems include modules and arrays, inverters, batteries, chargers and controllers. Balance-of-system components include electrical and mechanical equipment needed to construct a complete PV system and integrate the major components. Stand-alone PV systems operate off-grid and are designed to power specific electrical loads. Interactive PV systems are connected to the utility grid and supplement site electrical loads Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-46

47 Questions and Discussion 2012 Jim Dunlop Solar System Components and Configurations: 4-47

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