EVALUATION OF A MICRO-POWER PLANT USING SOLAR CELLS Bachelor’s Thesis (UAS)

EVALUATION OF A MICRO-POWER PLANT USING SOLAR CELLS Bachelor’s Thesis (UAS)
Bachelor’s Thesis (UAS)
Degree Programme in Electronics
2013
Constantino Miguélez Peña
EVALUATION OF A MICRO-POWER PLANT USING
SOLAR CELLS
BACHELOR´S THESIS | ABSTRACT
TURKU UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES
Degree Programme in Electronics
May 2013| 60 pages
Yngvar Wikström, M.Eng.
Constantino Miguélez Peña
EVALUATION OF A MICRO-POWER PLANT USING
SOLAR CELLS
The purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the operation of a photovoltaic system, installed by
Dise-Tech company in the locality of Korppoo, in South-West Finland.
This thesis is divided in three parts: a brief introduction about photovoltaic systems, a description of
the micro power plant, and finally, a study of its operation in energy and economic terms.
The work was implemented by studying and examining the individual components on the
installation, their configuration and the global set up. Calculations were carried out using computer
simulation and data collected on the field. The results show the range of potential that this system
has in order to cover the energy demands from the loads connected, along with an economic study
of costs and the amortization time.
Due to the local insolation conditions at this latitude, there are great differences in photovoltaic
power generation throughout the year. However, results show that this micro-power plant will
generate, in the long-term, both economic and environmental paybacks greater than its
manufacturing and implementation costs.
As an outcome, the most important issues concerning a micro power plant design are the handling
of surplus energy under higher insolation conditions as well as the configuration of energy storage
subsystem.
KEYWORDS:
Photovoltaic, bioclimatic architecture, solar energy, sustainability.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
CONTENT
1
INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................1
2
Background ................................................................................................................2
3
4
2.1
Solar radiation .....................................................................................................2
2.2
Photovoltaic effect ...............................................................................................3
2.3
Solar cells ............................................................................................................3
2.3.1
Monocrystalline cells ....................................................................................3
2.3.2
Polycrystalline ..............................................................................................4
2.3.3
Amorphous or Thin Film ...............................................................................4
2.4
Local insolation ....................................................................................................5
2.5
Photovoltaic installations on existing buildings .....................................................5
2.6
On grid/off grid installations .................................................................................6
2.7
Advantages and disadvantages of Photovoltaic energy .......................................6
Main Components of a photovoltaic installation..........................................................8
3.1
Photovoltaic panels .............................................................................................8
3.2
Inverter ................................................................................................................9
3.3
Regulator ...........................................................................................................10
3.4
Battery array ......................................................................................................10
3.4.1
Common battery types in PV systems ........................................................10
3.4.2
Charging process .......................................................................................11
3.4.3
Depth of discharge and battery life .............................................................13
3.4.4
Charging time .............................................................................................15
3.4.5
Maintenance ...............................................................................................16
Configuration of the Installation ................................................................................17
4.1
Location .............................................................................................................17
4.2
Climate ..............................................................................................................17
4.2.1
Local Insolation...........................................................................................18
4.2.1
Orientation and Tilt angle ............................................................................19
4.2.2
Trajectory of the Sun ..................................................................................20
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
4.2.1
4.3
5
Shadowing..................................................................................................22
Photovoltaic panels ...........................................................................................22
4.3.1
Orientation and inclination of the PV Array .................................................23
4.3.2
Orientation and Tilt angle ............................................................................24
4.4
Inverter ..............................................................................................................25
4.5
Battery array ......................................................................................................26
4.6
Regulator/Inverter ..............................................................................................26
4.6.1
General Settings .........................................................................................28
4.6.2
Inverter settings ..........................................................................................29
4.6.3
Charger settings .........................................................................................30
4.6.4
Battery monitor ...........................................................................................31
4.6.5
Virtual switch ..............................................................................................32
4.6.6
Specifications .............................................................................................33
4.7
Wire sizing .........................................................................................................33
4.8
Grounding and protections ................................................................................35
4.9
Protections ........................................................................................................36
4.10
Connections ...................................................................................................36
4.11
Maintenance ..................................................................................................37
Energy analysis........................................................................................................38
5.1.1
Estimation of Energy production during one year........................................38
5.1.2
Energy consumption from the grid ..............................................................39
5.1.3
Energy consumption of the appliances connected to the PV system ..........43
5.1.4
Energy consumption of the water heating system .......................................45
5.1.5
Battery capacity and autonomy...................................................................46
6
Economical analysis.................................................................................................48
7
Discussion and CONCLUSIONS ..............................................................................51
8
7.1
Alternatives to current configuration...................................................................51
7.2
Environmental payback .....................................................................................52
SUMMARY ..............................................................................................................53
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AGM
Absorbent Glass Mat
DoD
Depth of discharge
Gel
Gel-cell
GTO
Gate Turn-off Thyristor
IGBT
Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor
Ni-Cd
Nickel-Cadmium
OCV
Open circuit voltage
Pb-a
Lead-acid
Pm
Maximum power point
SoC
States of charge
PV
Photovoltaic
STC
Standard Test Conditions
SCR
Silicon Controlled Rectifier
VRLA
Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid
Wp
Peak watt
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
FIGURES
Figure 1 Polycristalline cell (left), Monocrystalline cell (right) [3].........................................4
Figure 2 Advantages and disadvantages of AGM batteries. (Gel-cell type batteries share
many of these. [9] ............................................................................................................11
Figure 3 Typical charging states for a Pb-a battery [11] ...................................................12
Figure 4 Number of cycles of life versus DoD [11] ...........................................................13
Figure 5 Charge (Absorption) and Float voltages for AGM charging [11] .........................14
Figure 6 OVC vs. SoC comparison. [11] ..........................................................................14
Figure 7 Charging time vs. 90 % and 100 % of SoC [11] .................................................15
Figure 8 US Battery AGM Charging Recommendations [13] ............................................15
Figure 9 US Battery recommended Charge Profile [13] ...................................................16
Figure 10 View of the installation’s location......................................................................17
Figure 11 Average daily irradiation per square meter in Korppoo .....................................18
Figure 12 Orientation of the array ....................................................................................19
Figure 13 Tilt angle of the array .......................................................................................20
Figure 14 Height angle of the Sun during the day. ...........................................................21
Figure 15 Influence of orientation and tilt on solar panel output. [2] .................................21
Figure 16 Sun's angle of incidence referenced to the plane’s normal for a 42º tilt angle and
-40º azimuth ....................................................................................................................22
Figure 17 PV array mounted on cottage's roof .................................................................22
Figure 18 Solarxon 230 solar panel [19] ..........................................................................23
Figure 19 Configuration of the PV array ...........................................................................23
Figure 20 Orientation of the array ....................................................................................24
Figure 21 Tilt angle of the array .......................................................................................25
Figure 22 AECA STEGA Grid 500-m [20] ........................................................................25
Figure 23 Configuration of the battery array [11] ..............................................................26
Figure 24 Discharge time vs. Loading voltage [21] ...........................................................26
Figure 25 Temperature correction for charging voltages [22] ...........................................27
Figure 26 General settings on the VE configure software ................................................28
Figure 27 Inverter settings on the VE configure software .................................................29
Figure 28 Charger configuration panel of the VE software [22] ........................................30
Figure 29 Charger settings on the VE configure software ................................................31
Figure 30 Battery monitor settings on the VE configure software .....................................31
Figure 31 Virtual switch settings on the VE configure software ........................................32
Figure 32 Multiplus Inverter/Regulator .............................................................................33
Figure 33 Diagram of the wiring between the buildings. ...................................................34
Figure 34 System diagram ...............................................................................................36
Figure 35 Simulated power output of the PV array throughout the year. ..........................39
Figure 37 Measured monthly energy consumptions from November 2012 to April 2013 ..39
Figure 38 Average energy consumption over the day in 15 minute intervals for October
14th 2012 to May 6th 2013 (Wh) ........................................................................................41
Figure 39 Daily energy consumption averages ................................................................41
Figure 40 Gross estimation of yearly energy usage .........................................................42
Figure 41 Average minimum energy consumption over the day in 15 minute intervals (Wh)
........................................................................................................................................43
Figure 42 Savings generated by the installation [2] ..........................................................50
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
TABLES
Table 1 Cable types on the installation ............................................................................35
Table 2 List of breakers installed .....................................................................................36
Table 3 Average energy production of the installation per month. ....................................38
Table 5 Energy consumptions..........................................................................................43
Table 6 Estimated energy consumption of loads connected to the PV system. ................44
Table 7 Percentage of the demand from the loads connected to the PV system covered by
solar energy .....................................................................................................................44
Table 8 Percentage of energy demand of the water heating system that can be covered
by solar energy ................................................................................................................45
Table 9 Charge of batteries at the end of the day starting from 20 % charge and assuming
no load.............................................................................................................................46
Table 10 Battery-sizing calculations for full autonomy ......................................................47
Table 11 Cost of material on the installation ....................................................................48
Table 12 Amortization time of the installation ...................................................................49
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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1 INTRODUCTION
The aim of this thesis was to examine the operation and configuration of a photovoltaic
system installed and configured by the owner on his private house. There is a variety of
solar energy thesis about photovoltaic installations, however, regarding this particular
system, no previous studies had been performed.
The present text approaches this task by a describing the different elements comprised in
a photovoltaic system, analyzing its performance and configuration; and finally, studying
the costs and payback time of the installation.
The performance of the system depends on several factors such as local insolation,
orientation of the solar panels and configuration of the inverter, regulator and batteries.
This thesis describes the different features of the elements on the system, with especial
focus on the batteries; which are the most sensitive element in the installation, as their life
time is greatly affected by their operating conditions.
The estimations of energy generation were obtained from computer simulations with
nearby weather data, over a one year period. Energy consumption data was obtained
through statistical analysis of samples taken periodically during seven months.
Results exhibit the capability of the system in order to cover the energy demands from
different sets of loads in the system, over different months of the year; as well as
estimations for battery sizing according to the measured energy consumption and some
recommended changes in the configuration in order to improve the performance of the
installation.
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2 BACKGROUND
The Sun is a yellow dwarf star of the fifth magnitude, separated from Earth a distance
about 150 million kilometers. It is a
at a rate about
ton nuclear fusion reactor which radiates energy
.It generates energy at a rate that will remain unchanged
during several billion years
Solar energy is an inexhaustible and green energy that over last years, has experimented
a reduction on manufacturing costs as photovoltaic installations have become more
common and widespread. Bioclimatic architecture integrates solar technologies on new or
existing buildings; making them more environmentally friendly and less dependent on the
provider’s grid as main source of energy.
The installation of photovoltaic systems on existing buildings is a long term investment, on
both, energy and sustainability. Installation costs can be paid out before the end of life of
the installation, as the price per kilowatt hour increases, the more profitable the installation
becomes. By choosing this green energy, the user saves the environment from CO2
emissions by reducing his dependence on fossil fuels.
2.1
Solar radiation
Solar radiation is the set of electromagnetic radiations produced by the sun. The sun
behaves practically as a black body that emits energy according to Plank’s law, at a
temperature around 6000 ºK. Not all solar radiation hits the Earth’s surface; ultraviolet
light is absorbed mainly by atmospheric ozone.
The radiation that reaches the surface of Earth has a direct component and diffuse one.
Direct radiation comes directly from sun, without reflections. Diffuse radiation, which is
approximately 50% of the solar available energy, is emitted by sky due to reflection
phenomena on atmosphere, clouds and other atmospheric and terrestrial elements.
Direct radiation may be reflected and concentrated for its utilization but it is no possible to
concentrate diffuse light coming from every direction. Both direct and diffuse radiation
components can be used to produce energy.
Radiation intensity varies throughout the day and it is also determined by atmospheric
conditions and latitude. On good conditions, the radiation power on the surface of earth is
1000 W/m2, this power density is known as irradiance.
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The direct normal irradiation (perpendicular to solar rays), outside atmosphere, is called
solar constant, it has an average power density of 1354 W/m. [2]
2.2
Photovoltaic effect
Solar cells convert the sunlight into electrical current in virtue of the photovoltaic effect.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made of semiconductor materials such as silicon, commonly
doped with phosphorous to create an excess of electrons (n-type) and boron, to create an
excess of holes (p-type). When two layers of these materials are placed together, they
form a pn junction. Due to the charge disparity, both layers create an electrical field
between them. When a photon is absorbed by a solar cell, its energy is transferred to an
atom of its structure, exciting an electron, which travels to a further orbit from the nucleus
or higher energy level. When the energy of the photon is high enough, the electron can
escape from the atom, leaving a hole behind. This electron will tend to move into the ntype side of the junction, while the hole will tend to move to the p-type layer of silicon.
On the front side of the solar cells there are conductors or metallic grids which behave as
current collector, since the pn-junction creates an electrical field, each released electron
will move into the current collector, generating electrical current and then reappearing on
the p-type silicon layer
On the back side, solar cells have an antireflective layer to increase the amount of
absorbed photons, maximizing the generated current. [2]
2.3
Solar cells
Solar cells are between 200 and 400 µm in width and they normally have an area between
8 and 10 square centimeters. The output power they can produce relies mainly on the
sunlight spectra and temperature conditions, for this reason they are classified in terms of
power by their nominal power rating.
The most common solar cell types that are used to generate electricity are Polycrystalline
silicon, Monocrystalline silicon and Amorphous (thin film) cells.
2.3.1
Monocrystalline cells
Monocrystalline cells are built from a single silicon crystal. These modules have efficiency
2 % to 15 % higher than polycristalline modules making them the most efficient
photovoltaic technology.
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Monocrystalline cells are characterized for having a continuous crystal structure. They are
manufactured by using the Czochralski process, an expensive and time-consuming
technique that requires large amounts of energy and is used to fabricate high quality,
electronic-grade silicon crystals.
Manufacturing costs are currently decreasing for this technology; it is expected to be the
most cost-efficient PV technology within few years.
Since monocrystalline cells normally have a rounded or square-rounded shape, when they
are mounted on the modules, it is not possible to use all the area on the panel for
collecting energy.
Nowadays, monocrystalline modules offer better efficiency, but at a higher cost than
polycrystalline silicon ones. [2]
2.3.2
Polycrystalline
Polycrystalline cells are also called semi-crystalline or multi-crystalline. They have
efficiencies around 10 %.
These modules are built from several silicon crystals fused together. This characteristic is
an advantage in a way that they can be shaped to fit the full area of a module.
During the recent years this technology has been the most popular in the market, until the
recent drop of monocrystalline silicon manufacturing costs.
They are cheaper to produce than monocrystalline modules and more efficient than thin
film technology ones. [2]
Figure 1 Polycristalline cell (left), Monocrystalline cell (right) [3]
2.3.3
Amorphous or Thin Film
Thin film solar technology is based on amorphous silicon, which has a more random
orientation among the atoms of its structure.
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These modules offer better performance at higher temperatures. On the manufacturing
process, silicon is sprayed on the cell by a vapor deposition process, which can deposit a
1µm thick silicon layer, which is much thinner in comparison with polycrystalline or
monocrystalline (200 µm).
The manufacturing process is highly automated and less energy-demanding than
monocrystalline or polycristalline, there is a lower need for silicon and these modules do
not need of an aluminum frame.
This technology the cheapest available nowadays but on the other hand, its efficiency is
poor (5 %-6 %), taking greater areas for the same power output than other technologies.
The most significant feature of this thin film cells is their performance at higher
temperatures and under lower sunlight irradiation levels.
Since it is a relatively new technology, it offers less proven reliability. [2]
2.4
Local insolation
Local solar insolation measures the solar potential for a region and typically is expressed
as the ideal number of kilowatts per hour per square meter per day, so it shows the ideal
maximum amount of power that could potentially be generated.
Knowing what is the efficiency of the solar panels that will be installed, which is normally
below 20 %, local insolation values along the year will give an idea of how much power
the system is going to generate.
2.5
Photovoltaic installations on existing buildings
Over the last years, it has been experienced a great development towards integration of
photovoltaic systems on existing buildings or other types of structures exposed to sunlight.
The main objective is taking advantage of the architectonical possibilities on many roofs or
walls of buildings in order to reduce the building’s use of energy from the external
electrical grid and reducing its carbon dioxide footprint.
By installing solar energy technologies on new or existing buildings, it is possible to
reduce the electrical consumption from the grid near to zero; these buildings are called
near-zero or zero energy buildings.
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Integration of photovoltaic systems on buildings is easier and more cost-effective. In many
occasions PV panels can replace structural elements, lowering building costs, such as
covers, roofs or tiles. [3]
2.6
On grid/off grid installations
On grid installations are photovoltaic installations connected to the energy provider
network. Energy from the provider is only used then the demand is not satisfied by
photovoltaic generation. Surplus energy is injected and the global electrical cost
decreases.
Off grid or Stand-Alone photovoltaic installations are meant to deliver energy on isolated
locations or rural areas far away from the energy provider network. They are relatively
simple since they only require solar modules for power generation and batteries for
energy storage. Stand-Alone PV configurations are also used for energy supply on many
other devices located on remote places or where connection to the electrical grid is
difficult or too expensive, such satellites, railway crossings or marine battery charge
systems. [4]
2.7
Advantages and disadvantages of Photovoltaic energy
Advantages:
Solar energy is an inexhaustible source, offers high reliability and excellent operative
availability.
Photovoltaic solar energy is one of the most promising energy sources, it is nonpolluting,
and it does not need of a big set-up to start operating. Solar panels can be installed on
buildings so they can produce their own energy in a clean and quiet way for up to thirtyfive years under minimal maintenance.
Solar modules resist extreme climatic conditions and can be installed almost anywhere
and are ideal for rural areas or isolated location where there is no electrical grid available.
Solar installations offer easy scalability since it is possible to increase the total power
produced by only adding more modules.
Non centralized energy generation helps to spread environmental consciousness on
people since solar energy users become producers and users of energy they produce
themselves, reducing their CO2 footprint and meeting their energy demand in a more
sustainable way.
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Manufacturing costs of photovoltaic panels are expected to decrease dramatically within
next few years. [2] [5]
Disadvantages:
The main disadvantage of solar energy is that a solar installation requires an important
initial investment and its amortization takes a long period of time. It is not economically
competitive with other energy sources and requires a large area. Electrical energy is
difficult to store and requires considerable space.
Manufacturing techniques of photovoltaic modules are complex, expensive and require
high amounts of energy.
The energy generation is variable according to meteorology, location and time of the year,
and optimal performance, which normally between 15 % and 25 %, requires readjusting
the panels seasonally. [5]
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3 MAIN COMPONENTS OF A PHOTOVOLTAIC
INSTALLATION
3.1
Photovoltaic panels
For the practical use, individual solar cells are interconnected together forming a module,
several modules are mounted on a larger frame called panel.
Solar panels can be installed in a wide variety of locations as long as they receive
sunlight. Normally the optimal installation orientation is facing South direction and an
inclination 5º or 10º less than the latitude angle of the location.
The conversion efficiency is the ratio of sunlight that every cells turns into electrical
energy. Their average life ranges from thirty to thirty-five years.
When choosing solar panels there the most important characteristics to take into account
are the following:
Maximum power point (Pm): It is the maximum amount of power that a module can
deliver. It is specified on its characteristic curve for a range of different voltages and
currents.
Peak watt (Wp): It is the maximum output power under standard test conditions or STC:
Irradiance = 1 kW/m², Temperature = 25 ºC.
Solar cell conversion efficiency ( : It is the STC effective conversion from solar radiation
power into electrical power.
The value of 1000 corresponds to the irradiancy level under STC.
Pmax: Maximum power of the module (Wp)
E: Input light (W/m²)
A: Area of the module (m²) [6]
Cost-efficiency: It is the relation between the cost of a solar module and its efficiency in
terms of euros per watt. It serves as comparison between different technologies that have
different costs and efficiencies.
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Warranty: The warranty of solar modules is expressed as assuring the maintenance of a
percentage of the nominal power output during several years, which can be up to 35.
Modules are in compliance with ISO 9001 normative and have a class-2 isolation. [1] [2]
3.2
Inverter
The inverter is the device responsible of converting the DC output of the PV panels and
the batteries into alternate current. This conversion is done by a bridge of semiconductor
switches (Thyristors, IGBT, GTO, SCR) depending on the frequency and power needed at
the output. The conversion is done by PWM and its quality depends on the amount of
pulses (on-off) performed by the inverter, so the higher it is the higher is the purity of the
sinusoidal wave at its output. This is of special importance as the harmonic content
increases as the output falls away from a pure sinusoid and gets closer to a square wave.
This is inadmissible for inductive loads such as electrical engines which will dissipate
higher amounts of energy as heat.
According to their output, inverters can be classified as square wave inverters (least
efficient), modified wave inverters and sinusoidal wave inverters, which have efficiencies
above 90%.
In the case of photovoltaic systems, there are specific inverters which can vary the output
frequency according to the power input. Most technologies incorporate a system that
varies the load seen by the PV array in order to operate on its maximum power point.
The performance of an inverter is not constant; it depends both of the type of the load
(capacitive, inductive or resistive) and the power input, obtaining greater performances as
it increases.
The most important characteristics of an inverter are:
-
Voltage and Current inputs and outputs.
-
Waveform type: Square, modified or sinusoidal.
-
Voltage limit at the input.
-
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), which measured the purity of the output.
-
Output power. [7]
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3.3
Regulator
The regulator is the device responsible of controlling the charge and discharge of the
batteries. On photovoltaic systems, on some devices it is included along with an inverter
on the same box.
Its main duty is to disconnect the batteries from the load when their voltage drops below
certain values in order to prevent damage to them and disconnects the batteries from
charging when the voltage rises above certain level in order to prevent damage from
overcharging as well. It helps to prolong the batteries’ life by monitoring the charge and
discharge processes.
The main characteristics of a charge controller are nominal voltage and maximum
operating current.
More sophisticated regulators allow selection of the cutoff voltages as a function of
temperature in order to optimize charge and discharge processes; they take into account
the type of the batteries and their operating temperatures. Some regulators can also
monitor the maximum power point of the PV panels with the purpose of maximize the
energy transfer from the panels to the batteries. In addition, some other regulators have
monitoring systems that records the operational parameters of the system which can be
transferred and configured from a computer. [7]
3.4
Battery array
Batteries store electrical energy, they absorb and release energy by chemical reactions. In
PV systems, they allow the operation of the loads during the night or when there is not
enough energy generated at the solar panels.
They serve to other objectives such as voltage stabilization or being a source of energy
for power peaks that some appliances may require such as starting water-pumps or
washing machines.
3.4.1
Common battery types in PV systems
Most common battery types are Lead-acid (Pb-a) and Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd). Due to
the higher price of the second ones, lead-acid are more widespread.
On photovoltaic systems most used batteries are Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid type
(VRLA); which has two subtypes: AGM and Gel cell.
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AGM batteries (Absorbent Glass Mat), in these batteries, the electrolyte is kept inside a
glass mat, they support full discharges without being damaged, these batteries are ideal
for solar systems, the energy stored on them can be used more efficiently than standard
lead-acid batteries. These batteries are maintenance free, they are sealed in way there is
no gas generation, they have low self-discharge and low internal resistance.
Figure 2 Advantages and disadvantages of AGM batteries. (Gel-cell type batteries share
many of these. [9]
In gel-cell (Gel) batteries the sulphuric acid is jellified by addition of silica fume. They are
maintenance-free, withstand better deeper discharges, are less sensitive to temperature,
are shock-resistant and have longer life. [8] [10]
3.4.2
Charging process
VRLA batteries and are Pb-a based, therefore, they are in the same way than standard
Pb-a batteries. The procedure comprises three different charging stages according to
battery charge level:
Bulk or Charge stage: The current is kept constant, the battery admits as much load as it
can charge as long as its temperature does not exceed approximately 38ºC (AGM or
Cell). During this stage, 80% of the total capacity of the battery is charged.
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Acceptance or Topping stage: The voltage is maintained and the current slows down until
fully charged, this prevents excessive acid stratification and gassing that shorten battery
life.
Float stage: Voltage is reduced in order to compensate self-discharge, the battery is
maintained charged indefinitely.
During charging process, the voltage levels on the battery’s cells must be controlled in
order to change from one state to other. The figure below shows a typical charging
process of a lead-acid cell; during the first stage the cell is accepting constant current as
voltage increases, during the second stage, current decreases until full load while voltage
remains constant, batteries start gassing as they approach their full charge point if the
charging rate is too high, the charging rate must be temperature-compensated in order to
attain optimal operation, this is achieved by the use of a regulator with temperature
compensation and voltage regulation. On third stage, voltage is reduced. While the battery
is maintained fully loaded, floating charges are periodically performed in order to replenish
the battery load from self-discharge losses. [10] [11]
Figure 3 Typical charging states for a Pb-a battery [11]
2.4.3 Temperature
Chemical reactions have a strong dependency on temperature as a catalyzer. Under low
temperatures chemical reactions occur more slowly, total capacity of the battery is
decreased and gas production starts at higher voltages. The opposite happens at higher
temperature, the speed increase on chemical reactions has also an effect of increased
internal corrosion.
During charging, batteries produce hydrogen and oxygen, VRLA batteries are sealed and
this gas production translates into an increase of the inner pressure.
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As temperature increases, the charging voltage should be reduced for temperaturecompensation. A too high voltage would drive the battery to overcharging, which
generates gassing, and therefore, leading to an increase of the inner pressure and
temperature, gases will be expulsed by the security valves if pressure raises over 5 psi
(0.34 bar). By losing these gases, the battery losses its capacity to store energy as these
gases are needed to recombine into the electrolyte during the discharging process. When
charging rates are too high, the heat generation creates an effect called Thermal
Runaway, as the temperature of the battery raises, its capacity to absorb current
increases as well, this can lead to and endless loop that can destroy the battery, this
affects older batteries that have been exposed to overcharges and gassing, which are
susceptible to generate heat due to their incapability to perform gas recombination.
Advanced regulators or smart chargers incorporate temperature correction features for
setting the overcharge cutoff voltages, which vary with a rate of approximately -0.005
V/ºC. [12] [11]
3.4.3
Depth of discharge and battery life
The Depth of Discharge (DoD) is the percentage of the total capacity of a battery that is
discharged during a discharge cycle.
As the DoD is increases, the battery life shortens, as the following figure illustrates:
Figure 4 Number of cycles of life versus DoD [11]
Deeper discharges shorten battery life, a DoD of 50 % is recommended for optimum
battery life, 80 % DoD is up to 200 cycles while 10 % may reach 3100 cycles. Hence, it is
important to size the total capacity of the battery array in order not to go beyond 50 %
DoD to maximize battery life while maintaining certain margin of usability on the system,
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optimal size of battery array is approximately as big as three or four times higher than the
average daily energy demand.
VRLA batteries are not affected by the “memory effect” shown in Ni-Cd batteries in which
the batteries, once the experiment certain DoD discharge cycle, on successive cycles, the
battery losses its ability to operate beyond the previous depths of discharge.
The following table contains optimal and maximum voltage values for Charge and Float
stages on 12V AGM batteries, adjusted for temperature compensation.
Figure 5 Charge (Absorption) and Float voltages for AGM charging [11]
The following figure shows approximate open circuit voltage (OCV) values for different
states of charge (SoC) in the battery from 0 % to 100 %, this measure should be done
after disconnecting the battery and letting it rest for a minimum of four hours. [12]
Figure 6 OVC vs. SoC comparison. [11]
AGM batteries show an approximate voltage of 12.30V when loaded with a 50 % of the
total capacity. [11]
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3.4.4
Charging time
During Bulk charge, the battery can admit as much current as four times the Amp-hour
capacity of the battery but the charging rate of the battery should be controlled to avoid
excessive heating, typical charging currents are 15 % to 20 % of battery capacity. [13]
During floating charge stage, current is progressively reduced until full charge. This
means that during a typical charge cycle, it will take 60 % of the time to charge a battery
up to the 90 % of its capacity while the other 40 % of the time would be used to charge the
remaining 10 %. [11]
Figure 7 Charging time vs. 90 % and 100 % of SoC [11]
The following figures show an example of recommended values for the charging stages of
AGM type batteries and a typical charging profile:
Figure 8 US Battery AGM Charging Recommendations [13]
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Figure 9 US Battery recommended Charge Profile [13]
3.4.5
Maintenance
All cells are connected in strings within the battery, on flooded standard Pb-a batteries
after several charge and discharge cycles, differences in electrolyte stratification levels
among the cells appear and their voltages start to differ. Conducting equalization charges
corrects this by setting the charge voltage to the maximum voltage that the battery
accepts during the bulk stage, when the battery reaches full charge, will force any
reminders of stratification on the inner plates to react. On AGM batteries, stratification
levels are much lower than flooded type batteries, while some manufacturers recommend
performing equalization charges periodically, other advice not to do them at all.
It must be ensured that batteries do not withstand freezing temperatures in order to avoid
being damaged, discharged batteries freeze faster than charged ones. Batteries should
be stored fully charge and must undergo periodic full recharges in order to replace selfdischarge losses. Batteries can be sealed in a container and buried underground to
prevent them from freezing.
It is very important to set correct charging rates and avoid overcharging, this generates
gassing, internal corrosion and a reduction in battery life. Batteries should be placed in a
well-ventilated area. [12] [11]
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4 CONFIGURATION OF THE INSTALLATION
4.1
Location
The Photovoltaic installation is located on a private house in the village of Korppoo
(Korpo), in the Finnish Archipelago, at 60° 8' 60" N latitude, 21° 34' 48" E longitude and 13
meters above the sea level. [9]
Figure 10 View of the installation’s location
The PV panels are installed on the cottage’s roof; they are connected to an inverter
located on its basement. The inverter’s output is connected to a breakers box on the
cottage’s outer wall; from there, the energy generated from the PV panels is sent to the
smithy’s breakers box, which is connected to a programmable regulator/inverter
connected to the battery array. This device has two internal programmable switches that
can be used to derivate energy into other appliances such as a water boiler, when there is
an energy surplus or the voltage of the batteries is above the upper cutoff limit.
4.2
Climate
Korppoo’s climate is milder than inland Finland: Summers in Korppoo are the longest in
Finland and winters may not start until December, which is two months later than the
starting date in Northern Finland (Artic region).
The average starting date of permanent snow cover in Korppoo’s region is the latest
among most inland Finnish regions, 26th December - 5th January. Average ending date of
snow cover happens between 21st and 31st of March, which is earlier than most inland
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Finnish regions as well. The average number of days with snow cover has been observed
to fall between 85 and 100 days. All these statistics have been obtained from data within
1981 - 2010 time periods. [10]
4.2.1
Local Insolation
The average yearly values for solar irradiation determine the power output of the system.
As the following figure shows in the red bars, the average yearly irradiation per square
meter is 2.6 kWh/m² for this location on a horizontal plane. The green bars represent the
simulated results of the average yearly power density that the solar panels will see
according to their mounting configuration (tilt angle and orientation), which is higher than
the horizontal plane since the angle of incidence of sunbeams is higher, energy is
distributed is a smaller area. This average value is 3.2 kWh/m² but its deviation for the
summer months is pretty high, reaching values above 5 kWh/m² between May and August
while during winter it drops to less than half a watt per square meter.
The Photovoltaic installation is located on a private house in the village of Korppoo
(Korpo), in the Finnish Archipelago, at 60° 8' 60" N latitude, 21° 34' 48" E longitude and 13
meters above the sea level. [9]
Figure 11 Average daily irradiation per square meter in Korppoo
These accused deviations on the monthly averages from the yearly average are due to
both, the difference in length of the day and differences in instant power density through
the year regarding the variation on the elevation of the Sun. The total insolation that the
panels see, and thus their power output depend on both the exposure length and
irradiation levels.
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4.2.2
Orientation and Tilt angle
The orientation of the panels is 140º South-East, following the orientation of the Southern
wall of an existing building, deviation from the optimal angle (180º South) is 40º.
Azimuth measures the orientation of the solar panels, in Northern hemisphere it is defined
as the angle between South and the panels, so South direction is 0º while North 180º,
regarding the configuration of this installation, the azimuth for the solar panels is -40º as it
is taken in the opposite direction towards East.
Figure 12 Orientation of the array
The panels are roof-mounted, having the same inclination angle as the building’s roof,
which is approximately 45º. This angle is few degrees under lower limit of the optimal
range for this latitude (52º - 72º) but it has the advantage that there is no need of installing
an expensive structure to support the panels, which payback time considering the
difference in power generation from the optimal angle would exceed the panels’ life, in
other words, it is more cost-effective to install the panels at the roof’s angle rather than
mounting them on a special tilted frame for such a small difference in degrees from the
optimal tilt range. 45º degrees of inclination is the minimum recommended tilt angle for
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panels installed on locations where snow is expected in order to avoid structural
overloads.
Figure 13 Tilt angle of the array
4.2.3
Trajectory of the Sun
As it was commented in the preceding section, the length of the day and the altitude or
angle of the Sun varies significantly through the year. As the following picture shows, the
shortest days occur between November and January, when the length of the day reaches
its shortest on December 21st during the winter solstice. At this moment, Earth’s axis it
heading to opposite direction from the Sun on Northern latitudes, exactly the opposite
happens during the summer months, when days are long up to 19 hours during summer
solstice in June 21st .
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Figure 14 Height angle of the Sun during the day.
Length of the day will have the greatest impact on the global output of this system,
ranging from very high performances during summer months to very low productions
during winter time.
Another factor to consider is the angle that the sunbeams reach the Earth with, optimal
incidence angle is perpendicular to the PV module’s plane in order to maximize the PV
power output; due to the fact that Sun is constantly changing its relative angle to the solar
panels during the year at the same time.
Figure 15 Influence of orientation and tilt on solar panel output. [2]
For optimal performance it would be needed to readjust the tilt angle of the panels
periodically, nevertheless, deviations of ±10º from the optimal angle, cause no significant
decrement on power output and therefore, having in mind that the actual tilt of the panels
is approximately -8º outside this range, this effect is only of second order in comparison
with the length of the day for this latitude.
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Figure 16 Sun's angle of incidence referenced to the plane’s normal for a 42º tilt angle and
-40º azimuth
4.2.4
Shadowing
There is no direct shadowing over the modules since there are no objects such as
buildings or trees close enough to cause it.
4.3
Photovoltaic panels
The solar panels model is Solarxon ES-230P, polycrystalline silicon type; each panel has
60 individual cells of 156x156 mm. These panels can deliver a maximum power of 230Wp
each one, and have an efficiency of 14.5 %.
Figure 17 PV array mounted on cottage's roof
The PV array is comprised by two rows; each one is formed by two panels in series
providing a maximum output voltage of 60V and a current of 15.3A. The output of each
row is connected to an inverter.
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The total nominal maximum power of the PV array is 920Wp with a total area of 6.53 m².
These panels are guaranteed to 80 % performance after 25 years of use.
Panels
Max Power (W)
230
Max Voltage (V)
29.8
Max. Current (A)
7.72
Open c. volt. (V)
37.0
Short c. curr. (A)
8.26
Series fuse rating
15 A
Figure 18 Solarxon 230 solar panel [19]
Array:
PV array
Max Power (Wp)
920
Vmpp (60ºC) (V)
50 /Row
Vmpp (20ºC) (V)
61 /Row
Open c. volt. (-10ºC)(V)
83
Impp (A)
15.3
Short c. curr. (A)
16.6
Series fuse rating
15 A
(Specifications under Standard Test Conditions (STC)
Figure 19 Configuration of the PV array
of irradiance of 1000W/m and cell temperature of
25ºC) [11]
4.3.1
Orientation and inclination of the PV Array
The orientation of the array is highly important in order to maximize the total power output
of the system. The altitude of the sun varies throughout the year depending on the latitude
of the installation site. In order to maximize power generation capabilities, PV panels can
be mounted on structures than can change its angle in order to optimize irradiation.
Best orientation for the panels is facing south, however the energy difference from not
being oriented around 25º on southwest or east direction, is only about 0.2 % by each
deviation degree from South.
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As a general rule, the best tilt angle angles for a solar panel are the degrees of latitude of
the installation’s site latitude, considering an error of approximately ±10 degrees. This
angle should be adjusted during winter and summer seasons in order to achieve
maximum performance.
In any case, it is always recommended an angle above 15º on rainy locations or over 45º
on locations where snow is expected. [4]
4.3.2
Orientation and Tilt angle
The orientation of the panels is 140º South-East, following the orientation of the Southern
wall of an existing building, deviation from the optimal angle (180º South) is 40º.
Azimuth measures the orientation of the solar panels, in Northern hemisphere it is defined
as the angle between South and the panels, so South direction is 0º while North 180º,
regarding the configuration of this installation, the azimuth for the solar panels is -40º as it
is taken in the antitrigonometric direction towards East.
Figure 20 Orientation of the array
The panels are roof-mounted, having the same inclination angle as the building’s roof,
which is approximately 45º. This angle is few degrees under lower limit of the optimal
range for this latitude (52º - 72º) but it has the advantage that there is no need of installing
an expensive structure to support the panels, which payback time considering the
difference in power generation from the optimal angle would exceed the panels’ life, in
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other words, it is more cost-effective to install the panels at the roof’s angle rather than
mounting them on a special tilted frame for such a small difference in degrees from the
optimal tilt range. 45º degrees of inclination is the minimum recommended tilt angle for
panels installed on locations where snow is expected in order to avoid structural
overloads.
Figure 21 Tilt angle of the array
4.4
Inverter
There are two inverters installed at the cottage building, one at the output of each row of
the PV array. The inverters’ model is AECA Steca Grid 500-m with maximum power point
tracking technology and an efficiency of 99 %. It is a wall-mounting model meant for
indoor use. [12]
DC SIDE (PV ARRAY)
Max input volt. (V)
230
Min, input volt. (V)
45
Max. input current (A)
5A
AC SIDE (Grid)
Grid voltage (V)
230V
Max output curr. (A)
2.17A
Max active Power
500W
Frequency (Hz)
50
Figure 22 AECA STEGA
Grid 500-m [20]
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4.5
Battery array
The battery bank is comprised by two Absorbent Glass Mat batteries, connected in
parallel with a total capacity of 250Ah or 3 kWh.
Type
Capacity
AGM Pb-a 12V
70 Ah
AGM Pb-a 12V
180 Ah
TOTAL
250 Ah / 3kWh
Figure 23
Configuration of the
battery array [11]
Figure 24 Discharge time vs. Loading voltage [21]
4.6
Regulator/Inverter
The device installed at the smithy (see connections) is an advanced multifunction
regulator/inverter device Victron Multiplus 12/2000/80. It comprises a sinusoidal and
modified wave inverter along with a programmable regulator.
It has two CA outputs; one can manage the UPS, in case of failure of the external grid it
provides ultrafast switching so there is no interruption of operation on the loads. The other
output is only active when there is CA feeding at one of the multiples' inputs; loads can be
connected to this output, such a water boiler.
It has triphasic operation capability and it can be connected in parallel with other Multiplus
devices in order to increase the total maximum power.
Its regulator can be configured to different charging rates by setting limits on the battery
charging currents. When there is a higher current that the one set in the charging limit
coming from the generator(s) connected (the PV panels in the scope of this thesis, but a
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windmill as well in the real hybrid configuration of this installation), the remaining current is
used to feed a load connected to the second output (virtual switch).
Different charging rates are Bulk, absorption, float and storage; it offers temperature
compensation, equalization, forced absorption and voltage detection in order to prolog
battery life (see 2.4) and prevention of excessive gassing as well. It can simultaneously
charge another battery or set of batteries.
In this installation, the virtual switch is connected to the main house’s water boiler, so the
excess of energy during the sunniest or windiest hours of the day will be used to heat the
water.
Another of its features is peak power compensation, when any of the loads need an
instant peak current such as a starting washing machine, the multiplus will compensate
the current that cannot be instantaneously supplied by the generator, from the batteries.
The multiplus has a temperature sensor that has to be placed on the negative pole of the
battery; its readings are used to temperature compensation of the charging voltages. The
following image illustrates the temperature compensation performed by multiplus.
Figure 25 Temperature correction for charging voltages [22]
It can be configured with DIP switches and remotely controlled with an external 3-way
switch or a multi control panel and configured from a computer using MK2-USB, MK2RS232 or VE interface connectors. It can send notifications to cell phones via modem
using SMS and GPRS. [13]
Using the MK2 USB interface, the Multiplus can be configured from a computer using the
VE configure software. This application allows configuring general settings as well as
specific ones for the inverter, charger and virtual switch. Some of the most relevant
settings for this installation are explained below.
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4.6.1
General Settings
Figure 26 General settings on the VE configure software
Dynamic current limiter: If the voltage on the batteries varies too much when they are
required to provide high currents, it limits automatically the current limit. Turned ON in this
configuration.
UPS function: Uninterrupted power supply mode, when activated power source switching
is much faster. Turned ON.
AC input current limit: Limits the current at the input of the inverter to the value set. If this
current is too high, batteries may overheat resulting on a reduced life. The maximum
recommended value is around 10 % of battery capacity, which is 25 A. In this
configuration it is set to 10 A providing a margin of 15 A up to the maximum permissible
current of the battery array.
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4.6.2
Inverter settings
Figure 27 Inverter settings on the VE configure software
Inverter output voltage: Output voltage of the inverter. 230V
Power assist: If the demand for current is higher than the value set in "AC input current
limit" the extra current needed is supplied from the solar panels. Turned ON.
AES: Automatic Economy Switch, if activated, the energy consumption under low or no
load is reduced by a 20 %. The output has higher harmonic content since its waveform
has been “narrowed”.
Search mode: Power consumption is reduced by a 70 %, the inverter is shut down when
no load is connected and checks again for loads every two seconds. The watt range of the
connected loads in order to turn on the inverter can be set in the configuration.
DC input low shut-down: Voltage limit for the battery in order to shut down the inverter.
The lower this value is, the higher the depth of discharge will be at expense of reduction in
battery life. 11.0 V, this voltage can be set higher, up to around 12 V for maximizing
battery life. (See figures 24, 4 and 7). In order achieve the recommended DoD of 65 %, it
is necessary to know to which loading voltage it corresponds to. For example, measuring
the OCV when the loading voltage reaches 11 V and looking at figure 6, will give an idea
to which state of charge 11 V corresponds to.
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DC input low restart: Voltage limit for the battery at which the inverter will be turned on.
Set to 12.5 V (See figure 24)
DC input low pre-alarm: Voltage at which the multiplus will display a low battery warning.
Set to 12.0 V
4.6.3
Charger settings
Figure 28 Charger configuration panel of the VE software [22]
Storage mode: Periodically recharges the batteries to compensate self-discharge losses.
Stop after 10 Hr. bulk: Overcharge protection, detects if the absorption voltage has not
been reached after 10 hours of charging and shuts off charging. This may indicate a
battery failure.
Absorption voltage: Charging voltage during absorption phase (25º), 14.3 V (See figure 5).
Float voltage: Charging voltage during float phase. This is the voltage at which the battery
will be held once fully charged. It is very important not to exceed the recommended limits
as it will result in overheating and battery degeneration. 13.4 V (See figure 5).
Charge current: The total capacity of the battery bank is 250 Ah, the typical charging
currents for AGM batteries are 10 % of total capacity during Bulk charge (25 A) and 3 %
during Absorption (7.5 A), (see figure 8).
Maximum absorption time is irrelevant in adaptive mode as it is used for fixed current
charging.
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Figure 29 Charger settings on the VE configure software
VE configuration software includes different charging profiles for several different battery
types, in this case the selection is Gel/AGM which charging voltage settings are
Absorption=14.4 V, Float=13.8 V and Storage=13.2 V. [13]
Charge curve: Adaptive+Batterysafe, provides an smoother absorption curve.
4.6.4
Battery monitor
Figure 30 Battery monitor settings on the VE configure software
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Bulk charge should stop when the battery reaches 80 % of Sock Here the total capacity of
the battery is set.
4.6.5
Virtual switch
The operating mode of the virtual switch is set by the option “drive auxiliary relay (VS
on=close) + dedicated ignore AC input”, in this mode of operation, two voltage levels can
be set:
Set VS ON, when Udc higher than 14.40 V for 2 seconds. This will redirect the power from
the solar panels to the loads connected to the virtual switch when the batteries have
reached this level.
Set VS OFF, when Udc lower than 12.20 V for 2 seconds. When batteries reach this level
will shut off virtual switch operation.
Figure 31 Virtual switch settings on the VE configure software
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4.6.6
Specifications
INVERTER
DC SIDE (PV ARRAY)
Input volt. Range (V)
9.5-17/19-33
Max. input current (A)
5
AC SIDE (Grid)
Grid voltage (V)
230
Max output curr. (A)
2.17
Output Power (W)
1200
Max peak power (W)
2400
Frequency (Hz)
50
Maximum efficiency (%)
92/94
Figure 32 Multiplus
Inverter/Regulator
REGULATOR
AC input (V)
187-265
Charge voltage (absorption mode) (VDC)
14.4/28.8
Charge voltage (float mode) (VDC)
13.8/27.6
Storage mode (VDC)
132/26.6
Charge current
50/25
4.7
Wire sizing
By sizing the electrical wires on the system, the maximum current that can safely flow
through the system is determined. Decreasing the wire diameter and increasing the length
increases the resistance. As resistance increases, the wire heats according to Joule’s law,
it may reach a point of overheating risk and electrical fire.
Since the electrical currents in this system are relatively high, it is important to choose
adequate wire dimensions by using proper cable sections and shorter lengths in order to
minimize voltage drops on the conductors, which have maximum admissible values lower
than 3 % of the nominal voltage and are defined by CENELEC TR 50480 normative, it
also must be guaranteed that the temperature of the conductors will be kept under certain
limits during normal operation: 70 ºC for PVC coating and 90 ºC for XLPE or EPR
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coatings. Short circuit limit temperatures (under 5 seconds) are standardized as well: 160
ºC for PVC coating and 250 ºC for XLPE or EPR coatings. [7] [8]
Wire section is calculated according to the following expression for alternating current:
S: Wire section area
L: Wire length
Va-Vb: Maximum voltage drop (V)
I: Nominal current (A)
σ: Conductivity (m/ Ωxmm²) (44 m/ Ωxmm² for Cu)
cosΦ: Active power, for calculation on DC current is taken as = 1 [6]
Figure 33 Diagram of the wiring between the buildings.
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Table 1 Cable types on the installation
Wired Stretch
Wire type
Cross
Section
mm²
4 x 2.5+2.5
Diameter mm
Length
m
CottageWorkshop (AC)
MCMK
0.6/1kV
Smithy-Main
house (AC)
Load
capacity
(A)
35
(Buried)
26.9
~50
MCMK
0.6/1kV
5 x 2.5+2.5
13
~25
57
(Buried)
CYKY
SUN 1kV
DC
BU
0.6/1.2kV
2 x 10
16.5
~25
52 (In
air) [14]
25*
11.5
<5*
127 [15]
[13]
[13]
PV panelsInverters (DC)
Battery bank
(DC)
*As specified in [16] p.10
4.8
Grounding and protections
Grounding provides a low-resistance path to earth ground. Since it is meant to carry any
intensity due to system’s malfunction, ground cables’ cross section must be as big as the
biggest section among every conductor present in the system.
System ground: The negative conductor is wired to ground, stabilizing the maximum
voltage with respect to ground and it discharges any currents produced by lighting.
Any metal exposed to contact should be grounded, including equipment boxes and array
frames. A PV array can attract lightning; damages may occur by the direct lightning hit or
by induced currents into systems’ conductors. Installation of buried wiring on grounded
metallic conduit will decrease the susceptibility to lightning. [8]
The grounding of this installation is connected to the grounds on the existing electrical
distribution on the different parts of the system (see figure 13). All of them are
interconnected so there are no floating grounds, this avoids the generation of differences
of potential among different parts of the system. [6]
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4.9
Protections
The following table shows a summary of the breakers on the PV installation:
Table 2 List of breakers installed
Location
Circuit breaker
Main house 1 (Main box)
35 A
Main house 2 (To loads using power from 16 A
the PV system)
Main house 3 (Breaker box connected to 25 A
the other buildings)
Smithy
16 A
:
4.10 Connections
Figure 34 System diagram
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4.11 Maintenance
Photovoltaic installations require minimal maintenance. Solar modules are very well
insulated within synthetic resin; they have a self-cleaning surface which means that no
large amounts of dust or any other particles will accumulate over them. Even though that
these particles would not have a significant effect on the performance of the module, it is
recommended to sweep the surfaces once a year.
Elements such as fell leafs should be removed from the surface of the modules,
shadowed cells in the module would absorb energy from other cells to a point that these
cells will result damaged decreasing the performance of the whole PV array.
Good ventilation on the location of the inverter must be maintained in order to avoid
overheating. Good air flow is also important at the location or the battery array to avoid the
accumulation of the gases generated during the charge and discharge. [2]
Besides all of the above, some other recommended periodic checks are:
-
All connections in the system should be tight and unexposed.
-
Batteries connections should be clean and free of corrosion.
-
Electrolyte level on batteries should be correct
-
With the batteries under load, check the voltage of each battery cell and ensure it
does not differ more than 0.05 V from the other cells voltage.
-
All junction boxes must be closed and sealed, without signs of corrosion and well
ventilated.
-
Inspect the array mounting structure.
-
Switches operation must be solid. Switches must be free of any corrosion.
-
Fuses must not show discoloration. They should be checked with a voltmeter. [8]
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5 ENERGY ANALYSIS
On the following sections, a series of energy analysis will be performed:
-
Estimation of the total energy production of the PV system during one year.
-
Estimation of energy consumption from the grid.
-
Estimation of the energy demand for only those appliances connected to the PV
system.
-
Energy consumption of the water heating system.
-
Battery capacity and autonomy.
Energy production calculations have been done using the photovoltaic simulation software
PVsys which includes weather data from Jokoinen weather station, which is the closest to
Korppoo on its database.
The whole energy consumption data has been measured from Oct 14th 2012 to May 7th
2013 in 15-minute intervals and has been analyzed with Microsoft SPSS and EXCEL,
estimating the consumptions for May to October with the purpose of obtaining the total
yearly power consumption.
5.1.1
Estimation of Energy production during one year
The photovoltaic system has a nominal power of 920 Wp and is capable of delivering
approximately 850 kWh under the local insolation conditions the figure below shows the
average simulated energy production per month of the installation.
Table 3 Average energy production of the installation per month.
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
YEAR
kWh/day
0,41
1,12
2,35
3,21
4,16
4,63
4,17
3,49
2,29
1,25
0,52
0,35
2.34
kWh
13
31
73
96
129
139
129
108
69
39
16
11
852
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
39
Figure 35 Simulated power output of the PV array throughout the year.
5.1.2
Energy consumption from the grid
Energy consumption data is acquired by a monitoring device attached to the electricity
meter, which counts the flashes of a LED at the energy counter, (1000 pulses/Kw),
sending the data wirelessly to a main terminal that stores it on a SD card.
The average energy consumption taken from the energy provider yearly is estimated
approximately by 10.834 kWh, this means that the energy supplied by the PV systems is
around 0.4 % of this total energy demand.
1200
1083
1129
1020
1003
1000
784
800
714
600
400
200
0
November December
January
February
March
April
Enery consumption (kWh)
Figure 36 Measured monthly energy consumptions from November 2012 to April 2013
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
40
This values show the energy that has been used to fully feed the loads in the four
buildings and partially feed the loads connected to the PV system, as it was explained in
the regulator section, the Multiplus regulator/inverter shuts off the power supply from the
battery array when their voltages drops below the lower cutoff value, supplying at that
moment the energy demanded from the grid, therefore, part of the energy consumptions
shown within the values above has been used to feed the loads connected to the PV
system during the time intervals that the batteries were below the lower cutoff voltage (11
V) due to insufficient power output from the PV array. Therefore, this situation is most
likely to happen during the night and the darkest hours of the day, while during the
sunniest hours of the day, the energy produced from the PV array will be used to charge
the batteries and feed the loads connected to the PV system. This will have a partial
impact on the energy taken from the provider as the PV-connected loads will be mainly
fed from photovoltaic energy during these hours, decreasing, on the average, the amount
of energy that the Multiplus regulator is taking from the grid during these sunniest hours.
(Note the PV production will be higher during this time interval even on cloudy days since
50 % of the PV-generated energy comes from diffuse radiation).
The following graph shows the average energy consumption during the day measured at
the electricity counter between October and April. It can be seen that the lowest energy
consumption takes place between 09:00 and 14:00, which, on the average, correlates to
the sunniest time interval during these months.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
41
Figure 37 Average energy consumption over the day in 15 minute intervals for October
14th 2012 to May 6th 2013 (Wh)
From analysis of measured samples within October 14th and May 6th, the average energy
demand every 15-minute falls within the 0.319 and 0.334 kWh with a 95 % probability,
which would sum a 1.3 kWh consumption during these months. Nevertheless, the real
hourly consumption may not fall within this confidence interval due to extreme deviations
in usage among this time since some appliances may requires very high amounts of
energy during short time intervals, polluting the average results. For example on
15.12.2012 between 13:45 and 14:00, 63 kWh consumption was registered, which is 210
times higher than the average.
On the other hand, an important part of the energy is used for heating during the coldest
months, but during February the total energy consumption was significantly lower that the
January of March being not possible to establish reliable predictions on energy
consumption for a 25-year gap, as it is intended on the next section.
Figure 38 Daily energy consumption averages
Nevertheless, the figure below shows a rude estimation of the yearly consumption. Taking
into account the existing symmetries on the weather data and Sun’s trajectory around
winter and summer solstices and that heating usage may not differ much among summer
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
42
months, I have estimated that the PV production one month before 21st June would be
similar to that one month after, and so on for two months from April to August. Having the
energy consumption values from first week of May, I have predicted the same
consumption until August. This assumption is prone to errors but it is only intended to be
illustrative.
All appliances which are constantly running or constantly switching from “on” mode to
standby mode generate a background energy requirement.
Background energy requirement is shown in the following graph by finding the minimums
in sampled energy demand at the same time, over a six-month period and displaying the
results arranged by the time of the day.
Figure 39 Gross estimation of yearly energy usage by monthly needs (kWh)
Energy generated by the system ranges from 4,63kWh in June to 0,35kWh in December,
which covers from 220 % to 16 % of total minimum demand.
The following table shows a summary of the measured and estimated energy
consumptions from the provider.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
43
Figure 40 Average minimum energy consumption over the day in 15 minute intervals (Wh)
There are four differenced time intervals among which the background energy
consumption varies significantly within the day: Approximately 35 Wh/15min within 20:0006:00, 15 Wh/15 within 06:00-10:30 and 14:00-20:00 and finally 5 Wh/15min between
10:30-14:00.
This
gives
an
approximate
daily
minimum
average
of
and 2.1 kWh/day.
Table 4 Energy consumptions
Energy Consumptions
Average hourly consumption (kWh)
Average daily consumption (kWh)
Minimum average daily consumption (kWh)
Average monthly consumption (Nov-April) (kWh)
Estimated monthly energy consumption (May-Oct) (kWh)
Estimated yearly energy consumption (kWh)
Estimated 25-year period energy consumption (kWh)
5.1.3
Kilowattshour
0,986
23,66
2.1
955,7
850
10834
379191
Energy consumption of the appliances connected to the PV system
The devices connected to the PV system are shown in the following table, they operate
with the energy provided either from the solar panels or the battery bank, when there is no
photovoltaic energy available, the multiplus inverter/regulator feeds these loads with
energy from the grid. Fast switching between energy sources is one of its features so
there is no interruption on the loads operation. The average yearly consumption of these
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
44
loads if approximately 4490 kWh, which means that, with a yearly average generation of
850 kWh from the PV system, it covers around 19 % of their energy demand per year.
Table 5 Estimated energy consumption of loads connected to the PV system.
Device
Refrigerator
Deep freezer
Heating system
Circulation pumps
Laptop IBM
Thinkpad T43
Display BenQ
BL2400PT
External Hard Disc
2Tb
External Hard Discs
3TB
Boiler AC resistor
Air extractor fan
TOTAL
70
70
1
1
Average
daily use
(hours)
24
24
30
2
8
0,48
14,64
32
1
4
0,128
3,904
72
1
4
0,288
8,784
6
1
4
0,024
0,732
6
1
4
0,024
0,732
500
2
2
1
8
24
8
0,048
12,304
244
1,464
375,272
Power Number of
(W)
devices
Total daily
consumption
(kWh)
1,68
1,68
Monthly
Total yearly
consumption consumption
(kWh)
(kWh)
51,24
613,2
51,24
613,2
175,2
46,72
105,12
8,76
8,76
2920
17,52
4490,96
The table below shows the percentage of the energy demand from the loads connected to
the PV system that is supplied by photovoltaic energy.
Table 6 Percentage of the demand from the loads connected to the PV system covered by
solar energy
kWh
% of
demand
January
13
3,0
February
31
7,1
March
73
16,8
April
96
22,1
May
129
29,7
June
139
32,0
July
129
29,7
August
108
24,9
September
69
15,9
October
39
9,0
November
16
3,7
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
45
December
11
2,5
YEAR
852
16,4
During summer months it is approximately, solar energy covers one third of the energy
demand, while during winter it drops below 10 %.
5.1.4
Energy consumption of the water heating system
The water heating resistors have a power of 1000 W, by being turned on 8 hours daily
their average energy demand is 2920 Kw yearly, if the energy generated by the PV
modules was used exclusively for heating the water, it would cover 30 % of the total
required.
Heating water pumps have a total power of 2 x 30 = 60 W, by working an average of 8
hours daily, the yearly energy demands is 175 W, in this case, the energy generated by
the solar panels would cover almost 500 % of their demand per year.
Table 7 Percentage of energy demand of the water heating system that can be covered
by solar energy
% for
kWh
% for
boiler
% of total
water
resistors
for water
pumps
only
heating
January
13
88,8
5,3
5,0
February
31
211,7
12,7
12,0
March
73
498,6
29,9
28,2
April
96
655,7
39,3
37,1
May
129
881,1
52,9
49,9
June
139
949,5
57,0
53,7
July
129
881,1
52,9
49,9
August
108
737,7
44,3
41,8
September
69
471,3
28,3
26,7
October
39
266,4
16,0
15,1
November
16
109,3
6,6
6,2
December
11
75,1
4,5
4,3
YEAR
852
486,9
29,2
27,5
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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On the whole water system, the yearly demand is approximately 3100 kWh; the PV
system would supply a 30 % of the total energy demand if the photovoltaic energy was
used exclusively on the water heating system.
The following table shows a monthly summary of the monthly demand of energy that can
be covered by solar energy:
5.1.5
Battery capacity and autonomy
The battery bank has a total capacity of 250 Ah or 3 kWh, the average hourly
consumption of the loads connected to the system is 0.6 kWh, this means that, without
solar power generation, the battery bank can keep them operating approximately for 5 and
a half hours until full discharge, 4 hours to 80 % depth discharge or two and a half hours
until a 50 % discharge.
Table 8 Charge of batteries at the end of the day starting from 20 % charge and assuming
no load.
Energy generation (kWh/day)
Charge of the batteries at the end of
the day (%)
January
0,41
17,1
February
1,12
46,7
March
2,35
97,9
April
3,21
133,8
May
4,16
173,3
June
4,63
192,9
July
4,17
173,8
August
3,49
145,4
September
2,29
95,4
October
1,25
52,1
November
0,52
21,7
December
0,35
14,6
YEAR
2.34
The following table shows the battery capacity needed for feeding the loads connected to
the PV system under full autonomy (Multiplus not switching to grid) in two cases,
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
47
assuming that the solar panels would fully-recharge the batteries on a daily basis: Ideal
case of 80 % depth discharge (admissible by AGM-type batteries in exchange of reduced
battery life) and 100 % battery efficiency; and the worst-lowest-autonomy case: 20 %
depth discharge taking into account a 60 % contingence factor for the efficiency of the
batteries. [8]
When there is an energy demand from the connected loads and the batteries’ voltage
reaches the lower cut-off value set in the Multiplus regulator configuration, it will start
providing the loads with energy from the grid. If this lower cutoff voltage is reached, which
is approximately 12.4 VOC for a 50 % DoD, it means that the battery bank has given a
total of 3 kWh x 0.5 = 1.5 kWh from full charge state. The regulator protects the batteries
from draining further beyond that limit; therefore, this will be the maximum discharge they
will bear. In the following table it is shown how much the batteries will be potentially
charged during the day by the solar panels assuming that they have reached the 12.4 V
point during the night and there is not energy demand from the loads during charging
state.
The values over 100 % show that during the summer months the generated solar energy
would be more than enough to fully recharge the batteries in one day. Note that the
regulator senses the battery voltage and when the batteries’ voltage is above the higher
cutoff limit, it automatically redirects the surplus energy to a second load such as the
water boiler.
Table 9 Battery-sizing calculations for full autonomy
Daily needed power (kWh)
14,2
80 % DISCHARGE - 100 % BATTERY EFFICIENCY
Battery size to ensure 80 % discharge cycles (kWh)
Battery size to ensure 80 % discharge cycles (Ah)
17,8
1481,7
20 % DISCHARGE - 60 % BATTERY EFFICIENCY
Daily needed P + 60 % Contingency Factor for battery efficiency
(kWh)
Battery size to ensure 20 % discharge cycles (kWh)
Battery size to ensure 20 % discharge cycles (Ah)
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
22,8
113,8
9482,7
48
6 ECONOMICAL ANALYSIS
The table below shows the costs for the devices and material in the photovoltaic
installation:
Table 10 Cost of material on the installation
Item
Amount
Cost per unit
Cost
Solar panel SolarXon ES-230P
4
350,0 €
1.400,0 €
Inverter AECA Steca Grid 500-m
2
400,0 €
800,0 €
Multiplus 12/1200/80
1
770,0 €
770,0 €
Standard Pb-a 12V 62Ah Car battery
2
85,0 €
170,0 €
Pb-a 12V 70 Ah AGM
1
180,0 €
180,0 €
Pb-a 12V 180 Ah AGM
1
330,0 €
330,0 €
MCMK 4X6+6 0,6/1kV
25
6,0 €
150,0 €
MCMK 3X6+2,5+2,5 0,6/1kV
50
5,5 €
275,0 €
CYKY SUN 1kV DC
25
4,5 €
112,5 €
BU 0,6/1,2 kV
5
4,2 €
21,0 €
35A breaker
1
25,0 €
25,0 €
16A breaker
2
30,0 €
60,0 €
25A breaker
1
8,0 €
8,0 €
Inverter/Regulator Victron Energy
TOTAL
4.301,5 €
The cost of the materials in the installation is 4.300 € for a peak power of 920 W which
results in a cost of 4.7 €/W
Electrical energy price per kilowatt in Finland for households, including taxes: 0.15614
€/kW (Nov 2012) [17] The annual change in the cost of electricity for households (K2
Detached house 5 MWh/year) in Finland over the last six years has experimented an
average variation of 7.7 %, for this calculation this annual rate will be used over the next
25 years of use. [18]
SolarXon 230P panels are guaranteed to an 80 % performance after 25 years of life, for
this calculation, performance degradation over time is considered linear. [11]
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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The following table shows the yearly savings that the PV installation will generate over the
next 25 years. Within approximately 14 years of usage, the energy savings generated will
be the same than the cost of the installation:
Total Energy
Year
2013
2020
2025
2027
2030
2035
2039
generated
Savings
Cost per kWh
(kWh)
(€)
(€)
856
134
0,15614
1705
287
0,16816
2561
464
0,18111
3417
667
0,19506
4273
898
0,21008
5129
1160
0,22625
5985
1458
0,24367
6841
1795
0,26244
7697
2176
0,28264
8553
2604
0,30441
9409
3085
0,32785
10265
3625
0,35309
11121
4229
0,38028
11977
4905
0,40956
12833
5661
0,44110
13689
6503
0,47506
14545
7442
0,51164
15401
8487
0,55104
16257
9648
0,59347
17113
10938
0,63916
17969
12370
0,68838
18825
13957
0,74139
19681
15715
0,79847
20537
17661
0,85995
21393
19814
0,92617
Table 11 Amortization time of the installation
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
50
25000
Investment (€)
20000
15000
Total E generated
(kWh)
10000
Savings (€)
5000
Cost per kWh (€)
0
2013 2020 2025 2030 2035 2039
Figure 41 Savings generated by the installation [2]
As it can be seen on the results above, the economic payback period is around 14 years,
this study focuses on the first 25 years of use, however it is estimated that with a proper
maintenance, the operational life of this system may fall within 30 and 40 years so this
system might generate energy for a longer period of time, increasing its profitability and
the economic benefits shown in this study.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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7 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
7.1
Alternatives to current configuration
Since the actual capacity of the battery array would require deep discharges and intensive
charge and discharge cycling in order to obtain the desired performance and battery life
would be considerably reduced, some other configuration alternatives can be taken into
consideration such as using the energy from the solar panels to exclusively feed the
heating system and/or connecting the solar panels directly to the electric network without
the usage of the battery array.
In the case of feeding all the loads in the system directly from the energy generated by the
solar panels without storage, usage of solar energy would be achieved only during the day
and therefore, the highest solar energy generation hours should have to be taken in
consideration to maximize efficiency. If the solar energy is only used for the heating
system, energy would be stored in form of heat within the water boiler, losing it during the
dark hours of the day and heating the water proportionally to light intensity.
The connection of the panels and the loads can be done directly by injecting the energy
into the grid from the inverters or by using the Multiplus, Taking in consideration the real
hybrid configuration of this system in which not only the solar panels are generating
energy but also a windwill, using the Multiplus would allow more flexibility in configuration
of the energy usage, since both the windmill and the solar panels could be generating and
injecting energy into the system in parallel..
The Victron Multiplus virtual switch configuration options allow the energy to be redirected
into the loads connected to this virtual switch (Note that in the actual configuration of the
system, the water boiler resistor is connected to the virtual switch), the turning ON and
OFF of this virtual switch can be performed according to amount of watts of the connected
loads or the charge level of the batteries. It also provides the option to stop inverting DC
current from the batteries when turned ON. In other words, for a fixed power load of 1000
W of the water boiler, the virtual switch can be set to be turned ON indefinitely while not
using the energy from the batteries, but giving the user the flexibility to reconfigure the
device to use the energy from the batteries as well without having to modify the
connections on the system.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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7.2
Environmental payback
Simple cost payback is a rough estimation since it does not take into account the amount
of saved CO2 emissions. On the average a 1 kWp photovoltaic systems prevents 400
kg/kWp carbon dioxide per year as well as other pollutants associated to fossil fuels.
Energy payback is the time needed by a PV module to generate as much energy that it
was used for its manufacturing. On the case of crystalline silicon is about 2.1 years while
for thin film technologies, it is around 1.2 years of operation. AGM batteries are made of
recycled lead and they are 97 % recyclable. [2]
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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8 SUMMARY
The goal of this thesis was to examine how this photovoltaic system had been configured
and how it was operating. During the evaluation of the installation, it has been found out
several aspects about battery capacity and energy management configuration that are
relevant in order to improve the efficiency of the system.
The battery turned out to be the most critical element in the system, in both, economical
and functional terms.
The calculations for battery sizing showed that the required total capacity of the battery
array must be considerably high in order to achieve smaller depths of discharge while
providing the loads in the system the required energy.
By using smaller capacities and deeper discharges, similar performance can be obtained
at expense of reduced battery life. Since batteries are costly and the most sensitive
element of the installation, the user should consider if the need for storing energy for
backup during the dark hours is balanced by assuming the cost of these elements and
replacing them periodically.
Through the energy study, it has been shown that this system is capable of providing
enough energy to run the water heating system throughout several months of the year.
Since the heat isolation on the water boiler is another way of storing energy and the boiler
resistors are the most powerful load on the system, using the energy directly from the
solar panels to heat the water during sunniest hours may be a more cost-efficient
alternative. However, if the energy from the batteries is used to run the heating system it
becomes less efficient due to the reduced battery life and the cost for their replacement.
The most important setting that was needed to be changed was the “DC input low shut
down” voltage value in the VE configure software. A level of 9 V would cause the battery
bank to completely drain out, a 100 % DoD would reduce notably the battery life, below
300 cycles. This value has been set to 11 V and it even may be set higher up to 12 V in
order to maximize battery life.
TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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TURKU UAS:BACHELOR’S THESIS | Constantino Miguélez Peña
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