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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 895271, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/895271
Research Article

A Virtual PV Systems Lab for Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum

Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080 Trabzon, Turkey

Received 28 October 2013; Accepted 4 February 2014; Published 13 March 2014

Academic Editor: Adel M. Sharaf

Copyright © 2014 Emre Ozkop and Ismail H. Altas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Design and utilization of a Virtual Photovoltaic Systems Laboratory for undergraduate curriculum are introduced in this paper. The laboratory introduced in this study is developed to teach students the basics and design steps of photovoltaic solar energy systems in a virtual environment before entering the field. The users of the proposed virtual lab will be able to determine the sizing by selecting related parameters of the photovoltaic system to meet DC and AC loading conditions. Besides, the user will be able to analyze the effect of changing solar irradiation and temperature levels on the operating characteristics of the photovoltaic systems. Common DC bus concept and AC loading conditions are also included in the system by utilizing a permanent magnet DC motor and an RLC load as DC and AC loading examples, respectively. The proposed Virtual Photovoltaic Systems Laboratory is developed in Matlab/Simulink GUI environment. The proposed virtual lab has been used in Power Systems Lab in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Karadeniz Technical University as a part of undergraduate curriculum. A survey on the students who took the lab has been carried out and responses are included in this paper.