AdvisorCronin, Alexander D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe installed base of photovoltaic power plants in the United States has roughly doubled every 1 to 2 years between 2008 and 2015. The primary economic drivers of this are government mandates for renewable power, falling prices for all PV system components, 3rd party ownership models, and a generous tariff scheme known as net-metering. Other drivers include a desire for decreasing the environmental impact of electricity generation and a desire for some degree of independence from the local electric utility. The result is that in coming years, PV power will move from being a minor niche to a mainstream source of energy. As additional PV power comes online this will create challenges for the electric grid operators. We examine some problems related to large scale adoption of PV power in the United States. We do this by first discussing questions of reliability and efficiency at the PV system level. We measure the output of a fleet of small PV systems installed at Tucson Electric Power, and we characterize the degradation of those PV systems over several years. We develop methods to predict energy output from PV systems and quantify the impact of negatives such as partial shading, inverter inefficiency and malfunction of bypass diodes. Later we characterize the variability from large PV systems, including fleets of geographically diverse utility scale power plants. We also consider the power and energy requirements needed to smooth those systems, both from the perspective of an individual system and as a fleet. Finally we report on experiments from a utility scale PV plus battery hybrid system deployed near Tucson, Arizona where we characterize the ability of this system to produce smoothly ramping power as well as production of ancillary energy services such as frequency response.
Degree ProgramGraduate College