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Solar YO(U)
Emily Clark, Fernando Fuentes, Alex Mendonca, Rob Swahl
I. Executive Summary

OLAR Energy Conversion Systems are designed in an


integrative, interdisciplinary approach. This report
brings together the work of a Chemical Engineering student, three Energy Engineering students, and two Energy
Business & Finance students. Predominantly a team of
engineers, it would be logical to assume that the goal was
maximizing energy production of a solar system which
would in turn drive the financial metrics up. However,
recall the goal of solar energy conversion systems design
and reflect on it: 1) to maximize utility 2) for a given
client or stakeholder 3) in a particular locale. The task
at hand involved much more than optimizing the technical
parameters to maximize energy production. Other types
of solar goods and services took priority over conventional
performance metrics: solar education at an academic institution, identification with the Penn State community as
a Class Gift, and alignment with the Penn State values.
This project was born as a design proposal for the 2015
Senior Class Gift. Of 6 proposed solar bus stops, we took
the largest and thus most interesting one and performed a
techno-economic analysis. The analysis consisted of qualitative data with regards to the locale and quantitative
data produced by simulations using the System Advisor
Model (SAM) by NREL. It is worthwhile to mention that
we performed a detailed, manual shading analysis on the
bus stop in question. This detailed shading analysis was
integrated to the SAM software and allowed for sensitivity analysis and comparison between a hypothetical system
without shading and the real system interacting with obstructions to the southeast, south, and southwest. Shading
accounted for a 9% decrease in annual energy production.
Additionally, the financial section of SAM permitted for
more sensitivity analysis and comparison of two cases: one
case where system costs are accounted for as per SunShot
Initiatives PV Pricing Trends, no incentives other than
Solar Alternative Energy Credits (SAECs) are integrated
since we are dealing with a non-profit academic institution,
and the system is paid upfront; and a second case, closer
to the truth, where system costs are essentially modelled
as $0.00 because the system is financed with the donations
of the graduating students of the Class of 2015 and other
contributing alumni. After a comparison of each of the
cases, we think it is in the best interest of the University
to invest in this system only if it is donated as a Senior
Class Gift. Otherwise, the regulatory landscape in place,
incentives available, type of entity in the eyes of the IRS,
annual energy production, and other factors result in the
net present value (NPV) of the system to be negative after
a period of 25 years, signaling that the University would
be better off investing in other alternatives.

II. Introduction

HE goal of this design project is to bring together a


design group including Chemical Engineering, Energy
Engineering, and Energy Business Finance students together and culminating a semesters worth of our Solar
Energy Conversions Systems course. The main goal of the
course is to educate us to think as integrative solar designers of patterns and systems. The approach we are taking
to solve this complex task is to use a thought process that
involves systems engineering. We are not just putting solar
panels on a clients roof, it is much more than that. We
are taking into consideration the preferences and demands
of our client. In solar design the goal is to maximize solar
utility for a group of stakeholders in a given locale for a
particular set of solar goods and services. The market our
solar development company is exploring is educational institutions, therefore, we decided to call our design firm Solar YO(U). Research was done on companies that develop
solar energy conversion systems in Pennsylvania. Research
was also done on the current energy resources available
in State College. In addition, the System Advisor Model
(SAM) was used to run a techno-economic simulation of
the proposed solar system. The simulation will include
TMY3 meteorological data. Fieldwork was also done in
order to determine the optimum sites for the arrays and
conduct shading analysis for input into SAM.
A. Class Gift
Since the inception of the Senior Class Gift campaign in
1861 when a portrait of Penn States first president, Evan
Pugh, was gifted, hundreds of gifts have been given. From
the Palmer Art Museum to a green roof terrace in the recently renovated Hetzel Union Building, the Senior Class
Gift represents decades of the noble Penn State tradition
of giving back. The Class of 2015 decided to leave a sustainable mark on campus, a solar array. This project proposal is developed for the 2015 Penn State Senior Class
Gift and specifically tailored to satisfy much more than
what the traditional engineering definition of solar utility
encompasses. With regards to one stakeholder group, university students, we did customer discovery by devising a
survey through which they could voice their opinions and
needs in hopes of having a direct impact in the final design of the Senior Class Gift. In order to have the student
body represented within our design, we decided to submit
a survey through social media. Our survey was exposed to
various Facebook groups that included, but was not limited to: The Class of 2015, The Class of 2016, The Class
of 2017, The Student Sustainability Advisory Council, and
The Society of Energy Engineers groups. These Facebook
groups have over 10,000 members combined. We closed
the survey after 72 hours of it being live on the web. For

example, out of all our survey respondents, 62.6% asked


for cellphone charging stations at our solar bus stops and
a surprisingly high 47% of what have been typically seen
as uninterested college students asked for an education
component. Here much more so than anywhere else, solar
utility means more than energy production and financial
savings. It is the benefit of solar energy reflected on the
Penn State community, on education, on our values. For
the purposes of this project, the Pennsylvania State University is our client -one that takes into account the voice
of the student body, the Class Gift Steering Committee,
and the Class Gift Campaign Committee.

Roof mounted photovoltaics are very common in the solar industry. The solar array can be installed in the same
plane as the roof or can be inclined. Standard practice
is to mount the system flush to the roof in most cases,
due to aesthetics and structural reasons. However it is
important to note that not all roofs are eligible for roof
mounted PV systems. A thorough roof inspection must
be performed before installation to assess the structural
integrity and forces such as wind, gravity, thermal expansion, and earthquakes. Additional factors such as age of
the roof and accessibility should also be considered. Another option is PV shingles that mimics a standard roof in
appearance and uses standard roofing practices[3].
IV. Site Selection

Fig. 1. Survey question answered by the Penn State community


displaying their ideal use for electricity produced by an array.

III. Technology Review

OLAR wafer technology typically consists of a thin


slice of crystalline silicon cut from a single crystal of silicon (monocrystalline) or a group of silicon crystals (polycrystalline). The efficiency of the cells nowadays ranges
from 16 to 19 percent. A typical home uses about 1020 solar panels[1]. In the northern hemisphere, (generally
speaking) at a predetermined tilt () based on the locations latitude. This system will be connected to the utility power grid. There are many advantages of grid-tied
systems. One benefit of grid-tied (a.k.a. interconnected)
systems is that there is no need for battery storage which is
at present time expensive and maintenance intensive. In a
typically residential system during times of high solar irradiance the solar panels generate more electricity than what
the household load is consuming at the time. Therefore,
the excess electricity can go into the grid and eliminate the
need for a battery to store it. In this sense, the utility grid
is a virtual battery. One additional perk of being tied to
the grid is the readily accessible backup power support in
case the solar system doesnt produce enough electricity
at a given time[2]. It is latter explained how in the case
of Penn State University, the system proposed is negligible
relative to the total electricity consumption at the university and we can thus effectively model the university as an
energy sink for the solar energy produced. Modelling the
university as an energy sink means that the solar energy
produces will be smaller than the energy consumed at all
instants.

N the context of the Senior Class Gift design proposal,


we thought that solar systems mounted on bus stops at
the University Park campus would reach the widest audience in State College. The proposed systems are meant to
be not only supplemental energy sources but also a source
of sustainable conversation and solar energy education. We
carved out a section of our design proposal for the Senior
Class Gift proposal to produce this report. Along those
lines, we decided to focus our analysis only on the White
Loop bus stop next to Chambers Building, across from the
Library. The retrofit will consist of a 24 panel, 3 string array, a 70 in. interactive touch screen, and small electronic
device charging stations (cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc.).
This project will focus on the design and economic analysis
of the solar array. Preliminary field work was done to pick
the bus stations where solar would be feasible due to the
absence of major shading obstacles to the southeast, south,
and southwest. The largest bus stop, focus of our current
analysis can fit from 25 to 30 panels for a system of approximately 6kWDC . This array assimilates either a small
residential or a small commercial system. In the technoeconomic analysis portion of this report, it is modelled as
a small commercial system.
V. Technological Constraints

EST Penn Power is the distributor in State College


at an estimated rate of $0.0530 per kWh for residential. However for our analysis, we used the wholesale
rate of $0.0677/kWh as recorded by the Office of Physical
Plant at Penn State in its most recent Utility Fact Sheet[4].
In this locale on the so-called PA Power switch there are 55
power producers with a variety of fixed and variable pricing structures. West Penn Power, the middleman between
the residential customer and these power producers as an
energy retailer, offers net metering for residential systems.
As seen in our economic analysis within the System Advisor Model, the cheap wholesale rate being paid by Penn
State is detrimental to on-campus solar adoption. For example, in Philadelphia, Peco Energy provides electricity at
a higher residential rate of $0.0866 per kWh. This however
is still low in relation to the national average. Being the
primary driver for solar adoption in all sectors (residential,
commercial, & industrial), the cost of electricity in Penn-

SOLAR YO(U)

sylvania is decelerating the adoption of solar energy[5]

VI. Socioeconomic Constraints


A. Client Demands

HE client demands are rather different than a typical commercial or residential client. Although Penn
State does have typical demands like high panel efficiency
and maximization of power produced, the main goal of the
Senior Class Gift relates to the more nuanced solar motivators like solar education, reinforcement of Penn States
sustainability culture, and parallelism with Penn States
core values. An efficient, visible solar panel array for educational purposes is the main goal. The University wants
the Penn State community to have production and performance data available in real time, thus the interactive touch screens. This design is different from the typical residential or commercial design because it involves
much more creativity and it deprioritizes raw energy performance and financial performance. As energy engineers,
we couldve aimed at maximizing energy production and
financial return for the proposed system. However, as interdisciplinary, integrative solar designers considering the
needs of our client (primarily the Senior Class Gift Committee) we knew that other solar goods and services were
more valuable to them.

Fig. 2. University Park, PA has recently been purchasing less electricity and producing more power.

B. Load Estimates
Tying the system to the grid is a method for Penn State
to save on electricity costs. However, a 5kW system
is not going to change the way Penn State consumes energy noticeably. Figure 2 shows that the electric load for
Penn State during the year 2014 was about 290 MM kwh.
The annual average over the last five years is about 295
MM kwh. In Figure 3 it is observed that Penn State does
not rely on renewable energy for electricity. Over the last
5 years they have increased their purchasing of natural
gas, leading to a combination of electric, coal, and natural
gas[6]. The solar energy produced will at all times be negligible compared to the instantaneous electric consumption.
Within the scope of the SAM simulation, we even modeled
PSU as a huge energy sink that will absorb all the solar energy produced and leave no room for electricity sale to the
utility. Even changing the rate at which the utility buys
back the power has no effect in SAMs output, since the
energy produced never came close to being excess relative
to PSUs immense energy consumption. On another note,
it is interesting to relate the energy produced by the proposed system to everyday electronic goods consumption.
This is a good educational strategy to bring esoteric energy terms into laymans terms: The power produced by
our system, according to SAMs output, would be enough
to power an average of 6 - 50 watt laptops, 17 - 35 watt
fluorescent bulbs, and 62 - 10 watt LED at a time.

Fig. 3. As of 2011 Penn State has been transitioning from coal to


natural gas.

C. Incentives and Rebates


Penn State University is a non-profit institution, therefore the University is tax-exempt. There are incentives for
residential and commercial solar PV systems that include
tax credits and rebates that do not apply to the University,
since it does not pay any taxes to begin with. However,
these programs will still be addressed due to the educational aspect of this project. Although the University itself may not be able to benefit from these programs, the
students and community members who observe the panels
can be eligible benefactors. The one policy instrument in
place that the University can utilize is net metering by the
local utility supplier. The excess energy produced from
the solar panels can be sold to the grid at the same price
which it is purchased. The PA Public Utility Commission
(PUC) passed Act 129 in 2008 which implemented smartmeter technology, real-time pricing plans, and alternative
energy sources. Figure 4 is a simple diagram of a net metering system, however in this case the electricity would be
connected to the University and not a home.

other bus stops, and is faced in the desirable direction of


southeast.
The size of the array will have a total of 24 modules:
8 modules per string with 3 strings in parallel. The area
of each module is about 1.24 m2 , leading to a total area
of about 30 m2 . The location chosen was the roof of the
bus stop station in front of Chambers building. Due to the
nature of the location, the system will be fixed relative to
both major axes.
VIII. Model Description

T
Fig. 4. Basic illustration of how a PV system is tied to the grid.

Additional programs that residential and commercial


businesses can benefit from in Pennsylvania are:
Through December 31, 2016 there is a residential and
business tax credit of 30% on the investment of each
installed system available[7].
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program is a state
rebate program for home and small business owners.
Residential systems between 1 and 10 kW and commercial systems over 30 kW are eligible to receive a
rebate of the lesser of $7,500 or 35% of installed costs
for residential systems and the lesser of $52,500 or 35%
of installed costs for commercial systems[7].
The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Program
(AEPS) is an alternative energy credit (AEC) program under Act 213. This act stated that electric
distribution companies and suppliers must provide a
certain percent of electricity from renewable energy.
An AEC is issued for each megawatt hour of generation from a qualified alternative energy system, such
as solar PV[8, 9].
Net Metering, as described above
VII. Design Criteria

NITIALLY, 6 bus stops were considered to be the Solar


Stop along the bus routes of the White Loop and the
Blue Loop. All stations except for the Chambers building
needed a roof to be built for the solar array. Additionally
measuring of each station and qualitative shading analysis
and orientation (azimuth) was done for each of the six
stops. A few other bus stops were viable options, however
are not as optimal as the Chambers bus stop. For example,
the stop by the Pavilion Theatre would be recommended
if the trees could be removed to prevent shading. The stop
by Beaver Stadium also seemed like a good option and
was looked into in more depth. The Beaver Stadium stop
has slightly less shadowing than the Chambers Building
stop, however it is less than half the size of the stop by
Chambers. It was decided that the larger system was the
best option to satisfy the client demands for this project.
The Chambers Building bus stop is the largest in area, has
an existing roof, is comparable to the minimum shading of

HE techno-economical analysis of the proposed system was carried out using the National Renewable Energy Laboratorys (NREL) System Advisor Model (SAM).
SAM is a free simulation software to model energy systems performance. SAM is a very robust environment with
many inputs. Depending on the level of customization and
analyst thoroughness, SAM can output basic solar assessment data or a more thorough analysis tying solar energy
to project finance, policy incentives, and more. Thus it is
important to note which input parameters were changed
and which were left as default values. Since SAM default
values are sourced from literature by DOE, NREL, and the
SunShot Initiative, we left the default value whenever we
were unable to find a more precise parameter that fitted
our case better. The control variables or set parameters
are outlined in the following bulleted list. If a variable is
not explicitly mentioned, it is safe to assume the default
value in SAM version 2015.1.30 was utilized. Additionally,
we organize the list in accordance to the tabs in SAM for
ease of reference:
(Location and Resource tab) Weather file: The USA PA
State College [penn State - Surfrad] TMY3 weather
file was used. The station ID is 725128.
(Module tab) Module selected: The SunPower SPR-210BLK-U module was used. It has a Pmp of 215 Wdc.
(Inverter tab) The Canadian Solar CSI-6000TL-CT
(208Vac) 208V [CEC 2014] inverter was selected.
With a Pac,o of 5500 Wac, it was primarily selected
to keep the DC to AC ratio close to 1 (actual DC to
AC ratio = 0.94).
(System Design tab) Array design: 8 modules per string,
3 strings, and 1 inverter. This configuration was
mainly driven by the area constraint on the roof of
the bus stop: it can fit 25 panels but had to work with
the same number of modules per string to balance the
inverter.
(System Design tab) Tilt & Azimuth: The modules are
flush to the roof and the tilt corresponds to that of the
existing structure = 23.6 . The azimuth or orientation
of the array with respect to South was locked to the
orientation of the existing structure, which according
to Google Earth is 136 , South being at 180 .
(Shading tab) Shading: The shading loss table by solar
azimuth and altitude beam irradiance was completed
with a detailed shading analysis. Please refer to the
Shading Analysis subsection for detail shading calculations.

SOLAR YO(U)

(System Costs tab) System Costs: $0.71/Wdc for the


modules, $0.21/Wdc for the inverter, and all other
costs bundled into Balance of system equipment at
$1.62/Wdc, coming out to a total of $13,121.64 or
$2.54/Wdc. Two things to note: 1) the cost data
is sourced from DOEs SunShot Iniviative PV Pricing
Trends 2013 report[10] and is regarded as bankable
data; 2) in a second iteration of the simulation, system
costs are zero because it was a donated Class Gift with
no cost to the University. The section Results and
Recommendations discusses this sensitivity analysis
in detail.
(Financial Parameters tab) Debt & equity: we decided
to model the system as a cash deal because the University will not take out any kind of loan for this but
rather collected the money from the Class Gift campaign.
(Financial Parameters tab) Tax rates are 0% because
PSU is a tax-exempt entity; a default insurance rate
of 0.5% of installed cost is used; inflation rate and
real discount rates are left as defaults, 2.5% & 5.5%,
respectively. Different experts in industry give different discount rates, we didnt feel prepared to provide
our own discount rate and thought it would be most
beneficial to go with the default value in the software.
(Financial Parameters tab) Net salvage value: 30% of
installed cost. Linear depreciation thus assumes that
the average lifespan of a PV system of this size is
25years
36years.
0.7
(Incentives tab) As explained in a section above, PSU
doesnt qualify to many incentives due to its taxexempt status as a public educational institution.
However it does qualify to Solar Alternative Energy
Credits (SAECs) [11]. The value of these credits
is volatile, with deals in 2014 ranging from approximately $0.013/kWh to $0.06/kWh. The conservative
lower value of this range was used, $0.013/kWh.
(Electricity Rates tab) Flat buy rate: as specified in the
Utility Fact Sheet by OPP at PSU[4], the flat wholesale electricity rate offered to the University in Fiscal
Year 12/13 was $0.0677/kWh and isnt expected to
change substantially up to 2016 when the contract expires.
(Electricity Rates tab) Electricity cost escalation rate:
0.55%/yr. Calculated using data from the EIA[12].
(Electricity Rates tab) Net metering is activated with
a sell rate of $0.0677/kWh. The accuracy of the sell
rate chosen doesnt matter much because the situation
where the system produces more energy than that consumed by the whole University is non-existent. All the
solar energy produced is absorbed by PSU loads, thus
it can be modelled as a large energy sink.
(Electric Load tab) Above the energy usage and energy
purchase data for PSU in an entire year was mentioned. Since it is such a big number, seasonal variation of energy usage wont matter relative to the energy produced by our system. Thus, we can split the
total annual energy usage evenly throughout the 12

months.
Given those parameters, we ran 3 iterations of the simulation: 1) Run 1: simulation with SAECs performancebased incentive (PBI) integrated and complex shading
analysis; 2) Run 2: simulation where everything is left as
is in run 1 but shading is completely taken out to see the
effect of shading on the system performance; and finally,
3) Run 3: a system with SAECs (negligible in the grand
scheme of things), with shading, but without any system
costs due to the fact that the system would be donated
by the graduating class. The Results & Recommendation
sections will discuss thoroughly the results of these 3 runs
individually and in comparison to each other.
A. Shading Analysis
The shade map (Figure 5) shows various objects that
can potentially shade the array on top of the bus stop by
Chambers Building at Penn State. There are 3 types of objects: a building (A), light posts (C,G), and trees (the rest
of the letters). As seen in the figure, the arbitrary point of
reference for this geometrical shading analysis was chosen
as the center point of the line extending the length of the
bus stop, approximately 45 ft. from either side. The height
and distances of the building will be provided first following by the trees and finally the light posts. At the end,
all the information will be summarized in an orthographic
projection with shading objects superimposed. A 25 ft.
tape measure, a camera, SketchUp, and basic trigonometry allowed to estimate the heights of these object with
sufficient accuracy without the need of a ladder.

Fig. 5. Google Earth image of various shading obstructions and


distances away from the PV array.

A - Building as a potential obstruction Irving Hall


across the street from the bus stop is a source of potential
shading. Having an irregular shape, a conservative way

to model its shading is to take the highest point(s) and


assume it is a rectangular box with height equal to that
of the highest point(s). Figure ref2 shows the estimated
maximum height of the building to be 619" or 517".
The portion of Irving Hall with potential to shade the
proposed array starts at 150 (SE) and ends at 200
(SW).

Fig. 7. Height of tree.

Fig. 6. Height of Irving Hall.

Therefore, the relative altitude angles of these 4 trees in


an orthographic projection with the reference point being
the center point of the length covered by the proposed
array are:
height
= arctan distance

B = 23.54
D = 31.43
E = 38.82
F = 43.54
H,I,J - Trees Referring to the shading map (Figure 5),
trees H, I, and J to the right of the light post are all of the
same height within the accuracy of our analysis, so they
can be bundled together. Figure 8 shows, in addition to a
beautiful home, that the approximate height of these trees
is 291". The distance between the trees is also about 15
ft. and they are at distances of 505", 716", and 971"
from the point of reference in the array, respectively.

Irving Halls northwestern corner is at a distance of


1504" from the reference point in the array; its northeastern corner of interest is closer, at a distance of 86 1".
Thus in an orthographic projection the altitude angle of its
619
closest corner would be: A1 = arctan 1033
= 30.93 And
619
that of its farthest corner: A2 = arctan 1804 = 18.94

B,D,E,f - Trees

Referring to the shading map (Figure 5), trees B,D,E,


and F to the left of one light post are all of the same height
within the accuracy of our analysis, so they can be bundled
together. Figure 7 shows that the approximate height of
these trees is 416". The distance between the trees is
approximately 15 ft. and they are at distances of 953",
6711", 517", and 438" from the point of reference in
the array, respectively.

Fig. 8. Height of tree

Therefore, the relative altitude angles of these 3 trees in


an orthographic projection with the reference point being
the center point of the length covered by the proposed
array are:

SOLAR YO(U)

height
= arctan distance

H = 29.98
I = 22.13
J = 16.68
C,G - Light posts
Most light posts lining the streets on campus are of a
standard size, therefore the calculation of the height of one
of these two objects results in the height of the second one
too. As seen in Figure 9, the approximate height of these
posts is 243". One is located at a distance of 823" from
the reference point whereas the other is closer at 422".

Fig. 10. Protractor showing angles produced by various shading


obstructions

Table A below provides the detailed azimuthal position


of each obstruction used to construct the orthographic projection chart. It is translated from South at 90 to South at
180 because by default the System Advisor Model places
South at exactly 180 .

Fig. 9. Height of Light Post


TABLE I

The altitude of each of these obstructions in the orthographic projection chart has been determined. However,
to produce this chart we need altitude and azimuthal position. Within the scope of our shading analysis, we considered azimuthal positions sweeping the area on the south
from East (90 ) to West (270 ). The color-coded azimuthal
map below (Figure 10) isnt meant to be analyzed closely.
It provides reference as to how the azimuthal positions of
each of the objects were found. The building and trees
swept a few degrees of the horizon while posts were modelled as having a width of 1 .

Figure 11 is the resulting orthographic projection chart.


Noted in the figure is the fact that dates of average solar
radiation were used for each month and the hours in the
chart are in local standard time. Although this data will
be fed into SAM, qualitatively speaking one can assess that
there will be significant shading from September to March
from 7 am to 10:30 am and from October to February from
11:30 am to a little past noon. Based on this fundamental
qualitative assessment, obstructions arent severe to prohibit the installation of an array. SAM will confirm or
reject this hypothesis.

Fig. 11. Detailed azimuthal position of each obstruction.

IX. Results and Recommendations

HEN analyzing the financial aspects of the system


in SAM, three different scenarios were considered.
First, the system with Solar Alternative Energy Credits
was considered with the analyzed shading. The second
scenario considered the Solar Alternative Energy Credits
but without shading. The third scenario was based off of an
analysis of Penn States system being free or fully donated,
as the Senior Class Gift would be. Table II compares the
values of each case.
TABLE II
Techno-economic comparison of the 3 cases for the
proposed solar system. Our final recommendation is to
pursue this alternative only as a senior class gift and not
as a PSU expenditure.

no shading is $34 more per year than the SAECs system


with shading. The net present value of the SAECs system with no shade increases by about $500, but still has a
negative value of about ($9,100). The last main difference
is the capacity factor without shading increases by about
1%.
The system that was analyzed as a donation to Penn
State was input having a total installed cost of $0 because
all of the system would be paid for upfront by the donations. The shading input is the same as the system with
SAECs, therefore the annual energy, capacity factor, electricity cost and the net savings with system is the same
for simulations 1 and 3. The main difference is the levelized cost and the net present value. The levelized cost
decreases from 20.66 cents per kWh in simulation 1 to 1.86
cents per kWh in simulation 2. The net present value of
the donation scenario is positive at $3,804 as compared to
the ($9,000) from simulations 1 and 2.
This analysis shows that if this system were not a donation it would not be in the best interest for Penn State
to implement this solar photovoltaic system. Only when
modeled as a donation does the system yield a positive
net present value. A residential model would be different
in that the 30% tax credit and other rebates would apply,
therefore potentially making the system a sound financial
investment. The negative present value signals that the
life cycle benefits do not outweigh the life cycle costs when
factoring in the time value of money.
References
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]

First, the comparison of the system with productionbased credits with and without shading. The total installed
capital costs for both cases was $13,121.64. This accounts
for the total cost of the system based on SunShot Initiative
pricing trends by DOE[10]; recall that Penn State does not
pay sales tax. A few of the metrics that differ are annual
energy, levelized cost of energy (LCOE), net savings on
electricity, net present value and first year kWAC/kWDC,
however all of them are relatively close. The effect of shading only decreases the annual energy by about 9%; that is
the system with shading produces 91% of what the system
with no shading produces. Similarly, for the net savings for

[11]
[12]

Solar photovoltaic technology basics.


Mathias Aarre Maehlum. Grid-tied, off-grid and hybrid solar systems.
Colleen OBrien. Roof mounted solar PV arrays:
Technical issues for the roofing industry.
Utility fact sheet: University park campus, OPPUFS-UP: 2012.
Switching power is easier than ever.
Monthly energy usage charts for penn state university
park campus - march 2015.
Pennsylvania solar rebates and incentives.
Pennsylvania alternative energy portfolio standard
program.
NC Clean Energy Technology Center. Database of
state incentives for renewables & efficiency.
David Feldman et al. Photovoltaic system pricing
trends.
NC Clean Energy Technology Center. Solar alternative energy credits.
Average price by state by provider, back to 1990 (form
EIA-861).