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Uncertainty Analysis for Dimensioning Solar Photovoltaic Arrays

[+] Author Affiliations
Heejin Cho

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Nelson Fumo

The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX

Paper No. ES2012-91080, pp. 897-901; 5 pages
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2012 10th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, July 23–26, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4481-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


As the world population increases, so does their demand for energy. The demand of energy is mainly in the form of electricity with an origin primarily from fossil fuels. Since solar photovoltaic technology has the ability to convert solar energy directly into electricity, this technology has become one of the most popular alternatives at all scales for substitution of technology that uses fossil fuels. However, a limiting factor for the massive use solar photovoltaic technology is economics. A key component in the overall strategy to overcome the economic limitation of solar photovoltaic technology is the system size optimization at the design stage. At the design stage, data related to the solar energy availability, energy demand, and equipment performance is used to determine the size of the equipment while being able to satisfy the targeted peak energy demand. In general, a common engineering safety factor is used to ensure the system to meet the energy demand during its life cycle operation. The sizing procedure of solar photovoltaic systems can be further improved to be more reliable and economical when the uncertainty in the design process is considered. This paper presents a framework to perform an uncertainty analysis that can lead to improve sizing process for solar photovoltaic arrays. Through results from the application of the proposed approach, a reliable interval for the size of the photovoltaic array is found that can lead to more accurate and economic design compared to the use of common engineering safety factors.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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