Technical and Economic Analysis of a 1mw Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaic Power System at KNUST-Kumasi

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Grid-connected solar PV systems, though the fastest growing renewable energy technology in the world, have not been fully exploited in Africa; one of the reasons being the very high initial investment. Prices of solar PV systems have however been on a decline for the past few years due to technological innovations which have led to improvements in cell efficiencies and the economies of scale resulting from increase in production. The main purpose of this thesis is to present a technical and economic analysis of a 1MW grid-connected solar photovoltaic power system for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi using rooftops of buildings on the campus. A solar resource assessment done to know the amount of solar radiation available at KNUST showed that KNUST receives about 4.30kWh/m2/day. A roof assessment which considered parameters such as the surface orientation and pitch of roofs, roof area and the possibility of shading of the roof, also revealed there is about 43,697m2 of roof space available for grid-connected solar PV installations. In technical analysis of the 1MWp solar PV system, the three (3) commonest solar PV module technologies were selected and their performance simulated using PVsyst software. Amorphous silicon modules were found to perform better than monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules over the one (1) year simulation period. The financial analysis carried out using RETScreen revealed that at a solar PV market price of US$4.45/Wp and a tariff of US$0.11/kWh (tariff paid for Asogli Power Plant which happens to be the most expensive generation source in the country), the project is not viable unless feed-in tariffs greater than US$0.43/kWh are paid.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, September-2012