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Walker Energy Modeling Incorporated: Developing a Solar Energy System

Task 1: Download building energy use data and choose a solar conversion technology

Walker Energy Modeling Incorporated: Thinking before doing is our motto (now) My recent, and apparently hasty, investment in a biomass-based combustion system at the Valmont Generation station ended up bankrupting Walker Energy Solutions. The good news is that I am personally insulated from any financial liability here. Anyway, I changed my address and got a new cellphone, and I’ve been avoiding the board members of the old company, as they are rather upset with me. (I’m no longer welcome at the country club). Of course, this presents us (you) with the exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of my new startup, Walker Energy Modeling Inc. Here at Walker Energy Modeling we are trying to foster a culture of proper analysis and decision making. Your job tasks here are going to be focused on developing out a basic cost and performance model for a solar-powered energy system. You’ll likely need to do some research on your own. I will post some relevant supporting materials to Canvas to help. NOTE: please both prepare your own model. It is very important that you do this or you will not get as much out of this assignment. Please turn in one model for the team pair for grading, however. Task 1: Download building energy use data and choose a solar conversion technology (5 pts) • Dr. Walker will assign/provide each team a building energy demand profile o Make a graph of typical daily, typical monthly and yearly electricity demand o This is actually electricity use data, but pretend it is heating demand if you are doing heating. (shifting the months might make the graph look more reasonable) • Choose one solar energy conversion technology from those presented in Kreith or in class. o Solar Photovoltaic o Flat plate solar thermal collectors o Evacuated Tube solar thermal collectors Task 2: Research the technology of choice and determine the following information: (10 pts) • How does your technology operate, what are the major components of the main system? • What auxiliary components are necessary to utilize your technology? (inverter, storage, etc.) • What are the performance characteristics of these components? (efficiency, etc.) • Can you model the performance of these components fundamentally, or do you have an idea of the range / typical value of these characteristics? • Summarize these items in a table w/references. Task 3: Design your solar energy generation system (10 pts) • Select the major components of your system based on your technology, objectives, and the research you have performed. This list should include all practical components you need to operate your system, but can be reasonably high-level (e.g., panels, inverter, etc.) • Prepare a sketch (boxes in a flowsheet are ok) that depicts the general makeup/layout of your system as described above. • What is the goal of this system? How are you going to size the system? What constraints are you considering when making your decision? (provide justification – this is an open design question. There isn’t a ‘correct’ answer – but any answer must be properly justified!) Task 4: Develop an insolation estimation routine in your Excel Model (30 pts) • Your model needs to be able to estimate insolation at hourly intervals (or ideally, as frequent as you have demand/insolation info available) throughout the year. • There are two ‘straightforward’ approaches to this: o Obtain measured insolation data from a reputable source and convert it into total actual insolation on the panel (e.g., Direct Normal Irradiance information) or o Use the methods from Kreith (and discussed in class) to estimate direct normal insolation. • You will then need to use this information to calculate the incidence angle to the panel, and total insolation on the panel using solar hour angle, panel tilt/azimuth, and location information as discussed in Kreith/lecture. • The output of this model should be used to drive performance model calculations in Task 5 Task 5: Develop a fully functional mathematical performance model to estimate the power output of your solar power system (30 pts) • Determine estimates for efficiency of each component in your system. Provide a list with descriptions/references when submitting your homework o Outside of the insolation calculations (performed above), a lot of the calculations here will be straightforward to set up. o You will need to do some research/make assumptions to estimate efficiency/performance for these systems. • Build a functional mathematical model that utilizes these equations to determine power output for your system, given a set of input parameter values. This will likely all be able to fit on one excel sheet. (doing so will help avoid some confusion). o Try to build your model in a single column or row vector, and you will be able to easily expand it to multiple rows/columns (which is useful because you want to evaluate insolation at different times of the day) • Your model should have an input section where all input parameters are entered or set. • Please format your model to group common calculations (routines) using borders and colors • Note on complexity: it is easy to go down a very deep rabbit hole when you create models. Please don’t lose yourself too much in this aspect of the assignment. You’ll get a chance to flesh out your model in the semester project! Please reach out to me if you are having problems! Task 6: Provide suggestions for installation of solar generation system: (15 pts) • Based on the energy demand, goals, and constraints of your system determine the total size of your solar installation. (Constraints include – available space, energy demand and we don’t want to consider systems that sell/send electricity back to the grid. This last item adds too much complexity for this homework) • Based on the provided land/roof space available, make suggestions for location of installation • Summarize and discuss your suggestions and results (~200-400 words) Task 7: Feedback for me (these questions will NOT affect your grade and Dr. Walker will only see summary results – Please be honest.) • How many hours did you spend on this homework? • Rate difficulty on a scale of 1-10 with 10 = too dang hard, and 1 = way too easy • Is there a grad student on the team? • Do you have suggestions for format of future assignments?

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