AE 868
Commercial Solar Electric Systems

Lesson 2 Activity

Lesson 2 Activity
Activity Details

Refer to the scenario on the first page of this lesson. Imagine that, in addition to working in procurements, you are also a solar analyst for this company. You have a client who is willing to invest in a 10kW PV system. The client has three properties in three different cities and he/she is asking for your advice to help choose the right place for the PV system.  (Note: the client doesn’t have any preference for the PV modules, installation type, or system orientation. So assume a fixed ground mount with no shading at any of these places). The cities are: 
-Seattle, WA 
-Denver, CO
-Phoenix, AZ 

Task 1:
With the help of PVWatt tool, your task is to find the best place for the client’s PV system.

Task 2:
Your manager asks you to use Trina solar TSM-250PC/PA05A as the PV module. Your task is to come up with the estimated annual energy yield. (Note: By this time you should have downloaded the latest version of SAM and completed the Simulation Exercise. Also, the choice of power conditioning units including inverters is not considered at this time, so use Enphase Energy M 215 in SAM) Please note that Enphase 215 is a micro-inverter such that each PV module requires a single micro-inverter with 1:1 ratio. These micro-inverters are finally connected in parallel.


Prepare a report showing both simulation results for SAM and PVWatt. The report is to be no more than one double-spaced pages in a 12 point font. Include the following in your report:

  • What is the best city for the client's PV system? and Why?
  • Indicate the corresponding tilt that gives the best annual energy productions. (Hint: this lesson covered the best tilt and orientation using the location’s sun chart. You can also use the software tools to find these angles!)
  • What is the best use for PVWatt and SAM? where would you use each? 
  • Your manager heard of bifacial PV modules and he suggested using them for this project. In few words, how are these modules different than other PV modules and what city would you recommned using thoses modules at? 
Bonus: Create a calculator to estimate the power and voltage ranges when ambient conditions (irradiance and temperature) change. (Hint: you may use Microsoft Excel for equations. Your input will be the ambient temperature and irradiance; your output will be actual voltage and power).
Submission Instructions and Grading Please visit the Lesson Activity page for submission instructions and grading information.