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1.1 BACKGROUND TO STUDY
The term “Renewable energy” covers all forms of energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, water (or hydro power), tide, geothermal heat, biomas and biofuels. They are derived from natural processes that are constantly replenished and each of them has characteristics that determine where and how they are used. (Ikponmwosa O., Olawale S., Adedayo B., Dickson E., Kenechi A., 2014)
Several renewable energy projects in many countries have shown clearly that renewable energy can directly contribute to poverty alleviation by providing a substantial amount of energy needed for creating businesses and employment especially in rural communities that have not yet been connected to the National grid Federal Ministry of Environment, 2013). Several renewable energy technologies are presently being used to supply energy for cooking, space heating, lighting, automobiles, etc. The combination of energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy resources, should allow Nigeria to meet any future increase in demand without increasing its reliance on non-renewable resources (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2013).
Solar energy can be seen as the anchor behind various forms of renewable energy. It anchors hydro power where the hydrological cycle is being controlled by the sun as well as Wind Power where the movement of air is due tothe heating effect of the sun on the atmosphere. In general, heat, kinetic energy, electrical energy and chemical energy can be provided via solar energy conversion (Tyagi et al.,2013).
In theory, solar energy can be perceived as an ideal energy source, because it is free and virtually limitless. However the technological barriers with regards to its collection, distribution and storage are great. Solar energy forms the basis or acts as the source of all other forms of energy on earth. Hence with the increase in intensity of solar radiation reaching the earth, it is paramount that this invaluable resource be put into adequate and efficient use in various areas of life. Solar energy utilization takes its root in the early ages when solar energy (sun) was used as a clock, as a compass, for preservation of food etc. In this modern age we have simply improved upon the findings of the old to get greater value, efficiency and time saving. To this end solar energy is ever growing and ever expanding in its utilization.
solar energy is clean and is abundantly available. solar technologies use the sun to provide heat, light, electricity, etc for domestic and industrial applications. with the alarming rate of depletion of the major conventional energy resources such as coal, petroleum and natural gas, coupled with the environmental degradation caused by the process of harnessing these energy sources, it has become an urgent necessity to invest in renewable energy resources that would power the future sufficiently without degrading the environment through greenhouse gas emission. (green, n.d). the energy potential of the sun is immense, but despite this unlimited solar energy resource, harvesting it is a challenge mainly because of the limited efficiency of the array cells. (aribisala, 2013)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The need for steady source of power has called for alternative source of power especially in Nigeria where power failure is no surprise. The introduction of these alternative sources of supply bring forth the challenge of providing steady power supply through inverter and solar power system.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to maintain and upgrade solar power system that is installed in electrical machine, electronics and power laboratory in order to provide constant power supply to the loads in the laboratory. The following are the objectives:
i. To increase the size of existing cables from 6mm2 to 10mm2
ii. To change the charge controller from 24V 50amp to 48v 50amp
iii. To replace the weak accumulator (battery) from the existing solar energy component.
iv. To conduct experimental analysis on the improved system.
i. The solar panel convert sunlight directly into electricity. The electricity is used to charge the battery.
ii. Charge controller limits the rate at which electric current is added to or drawn from electric batteries. It prevents overcharging and may protect against overvoltage, which can reduce battery performance or lifespan, and may pose a safety risk. it also prevent completely draining of battery
iii. The battery represents a reservoir of energy and power where the voltage from the solar panel are dumped through the charge controller. The capacity of the battery determines the charge controller and the charging time. There are at least 3 known connection for battery which are series, parallel and series and parallel connection. The configuration of the battery in wring must be similar with the connection of the solar PV.
iv. Inverters is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The input voltage, output voltage and frequency and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry.
v. Some offices and stores were selected and installation of lighting points and socket outlets was provide in order to ensure uninterrupted power supply in those offices and stores
Fig. 1.4 Block diagram of an Maintenance and Upgrade of Solar Panel for Offices and Stores.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
To develop an alternative power supply for some offices and stores in the department of electrical and electronics engineering. An inverter of 5.5KVA and 12V, 150A/H is used to power the offices and stores. However, due to limited finances the number of batteries to be purchased is limited to 4 and are to power 50 lighting points and 15 sockets.
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