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Figure 3 shows the monthly DC and AC energy outputs and the solar irradiance received by the grid connected solar PV system. The lowest monthly DC and AC

Performance Evaluation of a 2-kWp Grid Connected Solar … 27 Table 1 Technical

specifications of solar PV module and inverter

1. Modules specifications

Manufacturer Sharp

Model ND-R250A5

Technology Polycrystalline (mc-Si)

STC power (Wp) 250

Vpmax (V) 30.9

Isc (A) 8.1

STC efficiency (%) 15.2

Modus count 8

Number of strings 1

Solar panels surface (m2) 13.14 Weight per m2 (kg/m2) 11.57 Total panels weight (kg) 152 2. Inverter

Manufacturer ABB

Model UNO-2.0-I-OUTD

Nominal input power (W) 2000 Max input voltage (V) 520 MPPT voltage range, full

power (V)

200–470 Operating voltage range 140–520 Max. input current per MPPT

(A)

15 Max. DC input power per MPPT(W)

2300 Nominal output power (VA) 2000 Maximum output current (A) 10.5 AC voltage range (V) 180–264 Maximum efficiency 96.3%

Cooling Natural convection

IP degree of protection IP65 (electronics and balance)

energy outputs were 183.6 kWh and 169.3 kWh respectively that occurred in January 2018. Meanwhile, the highest monthly DC and AC energy outputs were 286.3 kWh and 268.6 kWh respectively that experienced in March 2018. In January 2018, the amount of solar irradiation received by the solar PV was 99.9 kWh/m2 while 159.4 kWh/m2of solar irradiation harvested in March 2018.

Obviously, there is a direct correlation between solar irradiation received by the solar PV and monthly DC and AC energy outputs. The irradiation received by the solar PV is weather dependent since more rainy days recorded in January 2018 as

28 M. F. Abdullah et al.

Fig. 3 Monthly DC and AC energy outputs and solar irradiation

compared to other months. On the other hand, March 2018 experienced the most sun light days as compared to the other months. The solar irradiation trending depicts the DC and AC energy outputs.

It can be noticed that the AC energy output is less than DC energy output and this difference constitute the energy loss during conversion from DC to AC energy. This energy loss can be analyzed by calculating the solar PV module and inverter efficien- cies. The monthly solar PV module and inverter efficiencies are almost constant as shown in Fig.4. The monthly average efficiency of the solar PV module was 13.8%.

Solar PV supplier stated that the efficiency of their PV cell is 15.2% at standard test condition (STC). The efficiency of a PV module is always less than a cell since the amount of energy hitting the individual cell is not the same as the whole PV module.

The other factors that can cause solar PV module less efficient are dust and dirt accumulated on the solar panels which limit the solar irradiance absorption, weather condition, panel orientation, etc. Furthermore, the solar PV module is not operating at STC which can further reduce its efficiency. The average efficiency of the inverter was 93.1% while the maximum efficiency declared by the manufacturer is 96.3%.

Among others, the inverter efficiency depends on the DC voltage, irradiance level, inverter temperature, etc.

The monthly array yield, final yield and reference yield are shown in Fig.5. As expected, the lowest and highest monthly array yield, final yield and reference yield obtained in the month of January 2018 and March 2018 respectively. The monthly performance ratio and capacity factor of the grid connected solar PV system is shown in Fig.6.

Performance Evaluation of a 2-kWp Grid Connected Solar … 29

Fig. 4 Monthly solar PV module and inverter efficiencies

0.0 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0 100.0 120.0 140.0 160.0 180.0

Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug

2017 2018

Yield kWh/kWp)

Months

Array Yield (kWh/kWp) Final Yield (kWh/kWp) Reference Yield (kWh/kWp)

Fig. 5 Monthly array yield, final yield and reference yield

The monthly average performance ratio of this grid connected solar PV system was 84.5%. In other words, 15.5% of solar energy was not converted to AC energy due to energy loss or consumed by the equipment. Other than that, dust deposition may cause the decline of performance of a grid connected solar PV system. Performance ratio is a very useful tool to compare the theoretical and actual performance of solar

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Fig. 6 Monthly performance ratio and capacity factor

PV system regardless of different location or different weather condition. All the local environmental factors at the scene is already taken into account in the calculation.

The capacity factor changes according to the AC energy productions. In March 2018, the grid connected solar PV system obtained the highest capacity factor because of highest AC energy generated, which were 18.0% and 268.6 kWh respectively.

The lowest capacity factor as well as lowest AC energy generated were 11.4% and 169.3 kWh respectively in January 2018.

As discussed earlier, there is a direct relationship between AC energy output and solar irradiance. Data in February 2018 was chosen randomly to plot a graph of AC energy output versus solar irradiance as shown in Fig.7. The intensity of solar irradiance has a significant effect on the energy production of the grid connected solar PV system. Correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.9912 obtained from the graph indicated that there was a strong relationship between these two variables.

The equation, PAC =1.5843H−17.284 demonstrated the correlation between the AC energy output (EAC) and solar irradiance (H). This equation is very useful as it provides a tool to researcher to estimate the energy production of a grid connected solar PV system with only using the in-plane solar irradiance data.

Figure8shows the monthly average PV module temperature. The monthly aver- age PV module temperature was between 32.0 and 37.6 °C. This small PV module temperature variation is because Malaysia has only one season and located in equa- torial region with tropical weather. The average temperature of the PV module may be affected by the daily weather. When there is no rain for few days, the overall PV module temperature would rise.

Performance Evaluation of a 2-kWp Grid Connected Solar … 31

Fig. 7 AC energy output and solar irradiance in February 2018

31.5 32.5 33.5 34.5 35.5 36.5 37.5 38.5

Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug

2017 2018

Temperature (°C)

Months

Average Module Temperature (°C) Fig. 8 Monthly average PV module temperature

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0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

12:00:00 AM 1:00:00 AM 2:00:00 AM 3:00:00 AM 4:00:00 AM 5:00:00 AM 6:00:00 AM 7:00:00 AM 8:00:00 AM 9:00:00 AM 10:00:00 AM 11:00:00 AM 12:00:00 PM 1:00:00 PM 2:00:00 PM 3:00:00 PM 4:00:00 PM 5:00:00 PM 6:00:00 PM 7:00:00 PM 8:00:00 PM 9:00:00 PM 10:00:00 PM 11:00:00 PM

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800

Pac (Wh) Pdc (Wh) Wh/m² °C

Fig. 9 DC and AC energy outputs, solar irradiation and PV module temperature on 25th of February 2018

Apart from irradiance, PV module temperature has influence on the DC and AC energy outputs where if temperature is too high the DC and AC energy outputs would reduce. Hourly DC and AC energy outputs, solar irradiation and PV module tem- perature on the 25th of February 2018 was chosen randomly and plotted in Fig.9.

This is a typical daily trend of the grid connected solar PV system performance. The highest solar PV module temperature was 66 °C at 1.00 pm of the day. However, the highest DC and AC energy outputs recorded that day was at 2.00 pm with PV module temperature of 59 °C that is less than the highest solar PV module tempera- ture. Generally, the grid connected solar PV system received higher amount of solar irradiation around 10.00 am to 3.00 pm each day. Thus, it yields the highest energy output during this period. By understanding this characteristic, tilt and direction of the solar panels could be adjusted accordingly.