Design Optimization Tool for Development of Solar Photovoltaic System in Rural Household Context
In India, there are about 263 million people who do not have access to electricity (IEA, World Energy Outlook 2015). Many rural parts either are not connected with the grid or are served with an irregular power supply. In such cases, a dependable source is required to avail the electricity primarily for lighting purpose. Solar photovoltaic home system (SPVHS) may provide a solution to compensate electricity for households where the national grid does not reach or the population density is too sparse to build a mini grid. SPVHS becomes the most reliable and dependable option to provide electricity. Generally, in most of the rural areas, people are using the unverified-quality solar PV home systems, which are less reliable and have an unpredictable lifespan. Although, such a system is lower in cost due to the poor configuration, which results in repeated malfunction and frequent failure of components. This makes it more expensive or unsustainable in the longer run and causes user dissatisfaction. Considering the aforementioned scenario, a design optimization tool (DOT) can be conceptualized to create an opportunity, which can play a prominent role in improving the reliability of SPVHS. This paper presents the concept of design optimization tool for the small-scale solar photovoltaic home system along with its user interface. Such tool would provide a level of confidence to the user or a service provider and establish the dependability of solar PV technology in remote areas. Various aspects of tool development including electrical design and usability are studied in context to remote villages of Assam. The conceptualized tool focuses on system configuration, system size, and tilt of PV module. Moreover, the graphical user interface of DOT can facilitate self-designing of such system by average rural users. To fulfill energy demand by considering affordability and reliability of design when taken up as a whole, the proposed tool would ensure optimal design selection based on the user requirement.
KeywordsSolar photovoltaic home system Design optimization tool Decentralized energy Technology dissemination Rural application
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