Hamilton Energy Consulting

Energy advice for a carbon constrained world

Photovoltaic Systems (PV) Design

photovoltaic cells, photovoltaic panels

The design of a stand-alone (off grid) power system for a house or other small building is a complex matter.  Typically, such a system will consist of photovoltaic (PV) panels, an inverter, a charger (or and inverter/charger), a set of deep cycle batteries, perhaps a backup generator, and various cabling, switches, circuit breakers, etc. We use the detailed design process of AS 4509.2, at whose heart is a very detailed analysis of the loads to be serviced by the system. It is essential that the users of the stand-alone power system are involved in detail in the load study. Another key design decision is the number of days of autonomy required from the battery system, as the cost of batteries can be a significant part of the whole system cost.

The case study “Design of a grid backup PV system” is an example of the use of the AS 4509.2 design process to design a system which incorporates features of both grid-interactive and stand-alone PV systems.