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Project Examples

Design of PV battery charging station for villages in the Peruvian Andes

Course: 22.527 Solar Systems Engineering
Semester: Spring 2008
Instructor: John Duffy
Partner: Village Empowerment Peru Project

Village of Paty in Peru. The village of Paty is a remote village that is very far from the electric grid, and not many people live there, which would make a project to bring electricity from the grid too expensive. Therefore, knowing that some villagers have automobile batteries available, it was considered that a PV battery charging station would be useful for the villagers.

The students from the Solar Systems Engineering course used irradiation data obtained from data acquisition systems (that were already installed at various Andean locations by students from previous years) in order to calculate the energy that could be available for a PV system. This was then used to determine the number of panels necessary to charge automobile-type batteries (lead acid batteries with a capacity of about 60 Ah). The batteries would then serve as energy storage for the people of the village of Paty, who could then use them to power lights, or to use other small loads. The students applied the theory learned in the class, which includes the knowledge about selecting charge controllers, about batteries and irradiation. They also applied their knowledge of how PV’s are rated and of how to calculate their characteristic parameters by testing various PV modules that were made available to them at the Solar lab; these modules are possibly the ones that are going to be used at the implementation phase, therefore it is logical to size the system based on the power that these PV modules can provide. The system was installed by students and volunteers in 2008.