This guide takes you through step-by-step on how you can design a solar PV system that is very efficient and cost-effective. It is targeted at the beginner and layperson, and as such is written in plain English. The training doesn’t require any prior knowledge about solar electricity before you can follow it. The only assumption I make here is that you have the passion to learn. Other than that, you are on your way to becoming solar energy professional.
I will begin this tutorial by creating an imaginary real-life case study scenario. My fruitful experience and extensive real-world knowledge make me believe that the case scenario, as presented in this article, will demystify the complexities around solar energy design and management.
A Case Study Scenario
In this case scenario, your prospective client, Mr Vincent, wants you to design a solar PV system in his bungalow apartment in Abuja, Nigeria. He wants a completely independent system that doesn’t require power from the national grid.
Below is the list of appliances he wants you to power with solar electricity.
i. Air-conditioner in the sitting room
ii. Freezer in the kitchen
iii. TV in the sitting room
iv. A decoder in the sitting room
v. A fan in the bedroom
vi. Five (5) units of bulbs
After your market enquiry, the panel available to you has the following specifications:
The battery has the following specification:
Design an efficient and cost-effective solar PV system that meets Mr Vincent’s power consumption requirements.
Throughout this course, we will be designing a PV system that addresses the above question in the case scenario. In case you jumped in here from a google search or somewhere like that and you’re a complete solar energy beginner, I will recommend that you visit my spate of articles on fundamentals of solar energy. I explained everything you need to understand this tutorial in two articles entitled: Solar Energy Blueprint: Eight Most Important Things A Beginner Needs to Know and Solar PV System: Six Most Important Things A Beginner Needs to Know.
Are you good to go? Don’t worry! You got me to guide you all the way, okay?
Let’s get going!
To design an efficient Solar PV system, you’ll need to follow these 6 (six) steps:
Step 1 – Determine your Power Consumption Requirements by:
i.Using energy meter
ii. Using your monthly electric bill
iii. Using your appliance power ratings
iv. Determine your appliance duty circle
Step 2 – Size your PV modules: How many solar panels do I need?
Step 3 – Size your battery bank: How many batteries do I need?
Step 4 – Size your inverter: What capacity of inverter do I need?
Step 5 – Size your charge controller: What capacity of charge controller do I need?
Step 6 – Implement energy efficiency strategies in the system