Assessment of the field performance of a photovoltaic pumping system for village domestic water supply

  • G R Kassenga


Photovoltaic pumping (PVP) systems are increasingly being regarded as better than the diesel ones for water supply in remote areas. However, one of the main reasons, which jeopardize rapid adaptation of PVP systems is low performance. The present paper reports on the results of an assessment of the field performance of a PVP system of Kidogosero Village in Coast Region, Tanzania. Comparison of voltage and current for clean and dirty solar modules showed statistically significant differences in measured values of the two parameters (p < 0.05), with a tendency for higher values to occur for clean modules. The results imply that simple regular maintenance of the system such as dust removal from solar array may reasonably increase the performance of PVP systems. The overall efficiency of the PVP system (1.23 %) was calculated based on the observed and simulated data and found to be appreciably lower than the typical values (2 to 6%), suggesting that the pumping system was performing below the normal level. The average measured water output of the system was observed to be lower than the design discharge value by about 25%. These observations suggest that the PVP system was not optimally designed for the array area. Optimisation of the PVP system using appropriate design tools during the system design is thus recommended for ensuring acceptable field performance.

Journal of Building and Land Development Vol. 13 (2) 2006: pp. 22-31

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eISSN: 0856-0501