SCIENTIFIC NEWS AND
INNOVATION FROM ÉTS
ÉTS Solar Panels Dedicated to Education - By : Azzouz Taoussi, Lyne Woodward, Kamal Al Haddad,

ÉTS Solar Panels Dedicated to Education


Azzouz Taoussi
Azzouz Taoussi Author profile
Azzouz Taoussi is in charge of technological applications in the Department of Electrical Engineering at ÉTS. He is piloting the solar panel project.

Lyne Woodward
Lyne Woodward Author profile
Lyne Woodward is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS and the current director of GREPCI. Her research focuses on modeling, control, real time optimization and optimization algorithms.

Kamal Al Haddad
Kamal Al Haddad Author profile
Kamal Al-Haddad is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at ÉTS. His research interests include electrical energy conversion, Power Electronics, power quality, harmonics and control.

solar panels-éts-GREPCI

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ÉTS will soon have six units of solar panels dedicated to teaching and research, each generating a maximum power of 250 W (a total maximal capacity of 1.5 kW). These panels will be installed on the main building rooftop and will allow students to understand, analyze and experiment the integration of such a clean and renewable energy source into different residential and commercial applications starting in the summer 2018 semester.

Although renewable energy sources are the way of the future, they present several challenges in terms of energy management and conversion because of the generated current variations as a function of the available solar intensity. Indeed, the amount of electricity produced by the panels depends on solar irradiance, which is a seasonal variation. This time varying energy availability constitutes a great challenge when it comes to supplying energy to the load. Therefore, if the excess of energy is not used by the load, it should be directed to the grid or if it is not possible to inject energy into the grid, it is necessary to store it in what is known as energy storage devices (ESD) and then convert it to the load in the most efficient way.

Electricity produced by the solar panels will be sent to two laboratories, one is used for power electronics education and the other for GREPCI‘s power electronics research facility.

More Comprehensive Teaching Labs

teaching laboratory-power electronics-éts

ÉTS Power Electronics Teaching Laboratory

Students in ELE355 (Industrial Power Electronics), part of the ÉTS electrical engineering curriculum, will have access to six lab stations, each connected to a panel. They will experiment the use of such devices starting by identifying the optimal operating current and voltage resulting in the extraction of the maximum power known as maximum power point tracking (MPPT). Then, different conversion stages will be built to efficiently adapt the electrical parameters to the need of the loads. Students will experiment the design of the MPPT, the battery charger operation, and the stand-alone inverter to supply independent load as to replace the Hydro-Québec grid supply. Of course, the power generated will depend on sunlight conditions at any given time during the day. Students will be able to correlate results from the data of a mini-weather station equipped with a surveillance camera. This station will indicate in real time local outdoor temperatures, wind speeds, humidity, sunshine, and other solar panels operating conditions (e.g. snow, rain, dust).

These new panels are part of the ÉTS approach, which focuses on teaching and training students engineers on practical issues to better prepare them to rapidly meet the immediate industry needs and challenges as well.

Research Facility

GREPCI-power electronics

ÉTS GREPCI Power Electronics Laboratory

The solar panels are also connected to the world-class power electronics research facility where the Canada Research Chair in Electric Energy Conversion and Power Electronics CRC-EECPE is located. Therefore, outside the hours of the laboratories dedicated to undergraduate students, Masters and PhD students can merrily use this infrastructure to perform advanced research on power electronics new topologies, develop new algorithms and create new converters for industrial and commercial usage. The researchers of the CRC-EECPE have already transferred more than 23 technologies to the Canadian industries. New technologies will be developed aimed at optimizing the conversion of energy produced by solar panels.

Student-researchers will have access to the panels from dedicated workstations. The panels are flexibly connected so different configurations can be easily tested to meet the need of the application (parallel, series, combination of parallel and series). This permanent installation offers an interesting alternative to the solar panels emulator used widely by university researchers. This infrastructure makes it possible to carry out full-scale tests aimed to identify the real problems that the deployment of this promising technology currently poses. It is to be mentioned that its price per watt is less than 70 cents; solar panel prices have dropped by a factor of 10 since the last 25 years.

 

Azzouz Taoussi

Author's profile

Azzouz Taoussi is in charge of technological applications in the Department of Electrical Engineering at ÉTS. He is piloting the solar panel project.

Author profile

Lyne Woodward

Author's profile

Lyne Woodward is a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at ÉTS and the current director of GREPCI. Her research focuses on modeling, control, real time optimization and optimization algorithms.

Program : Electrical Engineering 

Research laboratories : GREPCI – Power Electronics and Industrial Control Research Group 

Author profile

Kamal Al Haddad

Author's profile

Kamal Al-Haddad is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at ÉTS. His research interests include electrical energy conversion, Power Electronics, power quality, harmonics and control.

Program : Electrical Engineering 

Research chair : Canada Research Chair on Electrical Energy Conversion and Power Electronics 

Research laboratories : GREPCI – Power Electronics and Industrial Control Research Group 

Author profile


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