GOALI: Intelligent Networked Solar Panel Array Management

Project: Research project

Project Details


This three year proposal addresses several new signal processing, modeling, and control engineering methods for optimizing photovoltaic (PV) arrays and inverters through Smart Monitoring Devices (SMD) provided by ACT. ACT and its partner Paceco (a subsidiary of Mitsui) has been working with the ASU Electrical Computer and Energy Engineering (ECEE) for nearly two years on developing algorithms for fault detection and control for solar panel monitoring and optimization. The tasks for this university project have been designed jointly by the Co-PIs and include: a) studying how the available information will improve inverter operation and efficiency, b) examining communication and networking methodologies for data flow through the system, and c) investigating signal processing and optimization methodologies for the overall improvement of PV array performance and health. Based on these tasks our short term objectives are: a) to develop intelligent, interactive PV monitoring technologies, b) to develop switching strategies for PV modules, c) to optimize the performance of PV arrays, d) to provide fault tolerant capabilities for PV arrays, e) to use array and weather data for prediction and forecast algorithms to eliminate transient effects and facilitate power management in inverters, f) to establish communications and networking among SMDs, a server and the inverter, g) to develop a graphical user interface (GUI) for data visualization, and h) to provide anti-shading and switching strategies and reduce mismatch. The long term objectives are: a) to develop smart interactive PV technologies, b) to develop smart interactive inverter technologies, c) to develop standards and protocols for PV array communication and control. The investigators at ASU are Cihan Tepedenlioglu (PI), Andreas Spanias (Co-PI), and Raja Ayanar (Co-PI). Transformative Aspects: The research is transformative in that it will lead to comprehensive and integrated joint industry-academy design methods for solar array systems where intelligent algorithms are developed and used to control the solar panels, the inverters, the grid and their interaction as a whole. We anticipate that results of this study will help create new or enhance existing standards and protocols on the way PV arrays are operated. Intellectual merit: Scientific problems that the proposal addresses revolve around information extraction and processing from PV arrays and inverter units that are intended for utility scale power production. The signal and information processing algorithms derived for these applications will impact many areas in solar array power production and distribution. More specifically they will result in designing and deploying effective and robust PV arrays that operate in near optimum conditions and are robust to faults and weather changes. Broader Impact: The proposed work will advance the development of PV and inverter technologies. Our research will lead to inexpensive, smart and robust PV units for utility scale applications. As a whole our research will reduce the cost of energy as it will increase the production of Green energy by optimizing PV array and inverter operation. Publications in scientific journals and conferences will be complemented with a strong dissemination effort that makes use of several existing structures at ASU. The ASU SenSIP Center has several dissemination programs for recruitment from underrepresented groups and for involvement of undergraduate students in research. SenSIP also has an NSF I/UCRC leg with six industry members and the Co-PIs are involved in several of its industrial activities. In addition, all the PIs are also involved in a Phase 3 TUES (CCLI) program that has established mechanisms and award winning software to create and package relevant education modules with interdisciplinary research and education content. The mobile software iJDSP created by the PIs of this proposal won the 2012 Premier award cosponsored by Microsoft research, Wiley and TechSmith. In the proposal, we describe a process to create compelling realizations of mobile iJDSP for dissemination of the algorithms, GUI, and dashboard created as part of this EPAS program. iJDSP has been very successful for outreach sessions.
Effective start/end date9/15/1311/30/17


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $215,808.00

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