A hierarchical model for photovoltaic system performance analysis

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The advent of new technology and ever-escalating fuel prices would make alternative energy sources increasingly important in coming years. This study is aimed to develop the tools required to analyze the feasibility of alternate energy sources. Although the study refers specifically to solar energy, the methodology is good for any alternative energy source.

Four models are used to analyze complete performance of a photovoltaic(PV) system. The SOLAR model estimates the total radiation at a site. The PVPM model calculates the PV output for this total radiation. The PRODCOST and LIFECC models analyze the economic performance of the photovoltaic system.

This works as a complete package which by itself will help to make preliminary analysis of various sites before making a further in-depth study for a selected few. The model is intended to be a part of a larger model, which will be a complete planning tool for power system expansion in developing countries. The efforts towards this direction can be continued further by developing various models, each analyzing a special task. The models can be integrated to form a hierarchical structure which completely models the power system in developing countries.