Phase II year
1995 (last award dollars: 1995)
Currently, diesel generators are the primary source of electric power in remote areas where the cost of constructing long power lines exceeds the cost of fuel delivery. Advances in photovoltaics (PV) technology now make it cost effective to build and operate a hybrid power plant. A trimode power processor fulfills an important control function in remote village applications of PV. It optimizes the use of three sources of energy, PV, diesel, and battery, by minimizing diesel fuel consumption and by using the maximum power available from the PV array. The positive impact of applying the trimode power processor with a newly invented power quality enhancement controller was demonstrated with detailed computer simulations in Phase I. The simulations illustrated how battery charging will be used in a control strategy to apply the optimum load to the diesel generator. The processor reduces the fuel consumption of the diesel generator to a minimum by presenting itself as the perfect electrical load to the generator. In Phase II, hybrid systems will be developed that combine the energy sources from PV, batteries, and diesel-generators, and a 50 kW three phase unit will be tested to prove its worthiness in actual field conditions. Economical feasibility will be demonstrated for small power plants in many parts of the world. Anticipated Results/Potential Commercial Applications as described by the awardee: The application of PV energy at remote locations where reliability of supply requires a diesel generator will be less costly to operate by reducing the run time of the diesel generator. The numerous benefits include longer times between maintenance for the diesel engine and better power quality from the generator.