Hopi Solar PV Project

Northern Arizona University Capstone Design

Some information is redacted to preserve client confidentiality

Project Information

  • Project Information
  • The purpose of this project is to make a feasibility study for a solar power plant that will provide renewable energy to the Hopi Tribe. The power plant will be located within Hopi territory and will theoretically and hypothetically provide electricity to the grid. The purpose of this project is to enhance NAU’s relationship with the Hopi tribe, along with exposing NAU students to how solar power plants are designed and established. In this way students will get experience about the design, manufacturing and operation of a solar power plant. This project will also benefit the Hopi Tribe’s interest in renewable energy technologies, as this plant may bring awareness of utilizing different solar technologies. As NAU and the Hopi Tribe are the stakeholders and sponsors of this project, they hopefully will both benefit from the team's proposed power plant project. The requirements for the team’s hypothetical power plant are that it has to be solar powered, located on Hopi territory, and must produce at least 50 megawatts DC electricity and be financially feasible. This report will tackle the output rating of the power plant and will develop a design that will meet this criterion. The project started by defining the customer requirements, and from the customer requirements engineering requirements have developed with their technical value. The functional model for the project has developed to see clearly what the target inputs and outputs of the system are. Testing procedures have been developed for each engineering requirement to confirm if the project is meeting the requirements or not. The final design has been selected for the project, which was derived from the two designs that were proposed within the Preliminary Report. The design was selected using the Pugh chart and Decision matrix evaluation. The final design consists of single axis tracking, bifacial PV solar panels, the hybrid inverter with the capacity of 1.25 MW, as well as a racking and tracking system to take the most advantage of the bifacial PV modules. This design consists of 40 inverters and 100,000 solar panels of 500 watt. This paper concludes with an implementation plan that has been proposed to be referenced and used in the future.


    Meet our team

    Kaarina Nehring is a Mechanical Engineering undergrad, who is also pursuing a mathematics minor. She is the Treasurer of NAU Energy Club, and this Capstone Team's Project Manager. She did an individual analysis on the Solar PV renewable energy power plant site selection. She used the NSRDB Data Viewer for identifying areas of land for solar resources. She utilized NREL’s Tribal Energy Atlas for the project’s site selection, similar to how maps in GIS are layered, in order to decide on a cost effective and energy efficient location for the power plant.

    Mohammed Alajmy is an Electrical Engineering undergraduate. He is this Capstone Team’s Website Manager. He is a member of Kuwaiti club. He is dealing with the solar inverter part in the project. He worked on PVsyst to manage the design of Solar Power Plant to make the strings of PVs. He also worked on SAM to finalize the input and output calculations for inverter in such a way that minimum amount of inverters will use in the project and also reduced the number of Solar panels. These steps have taken to increase the durability of power plant and make it cost effective.

    Jordan Masayesva is a Mechanical Engineering undergrad. He is the client contact in charge of communicating to our clients. He has analyzed the sizing and PV module selection for a utility scale power plant. The analysis provided an understanding of how much solar radiation is available and the overall sizing the plant needed to be to reach our designated size. This aspect of the project will influence the overall output and performance of the system. He plans to utilize software PV Watts within the System Advisory Model (SAM) to model the resource availability and perform simulations for the selected components.

    Marlon Cortez, mac823@nau.edu

    Documents Manager

    Marlon Cortez is a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate. He is this Capstone Team’s Documents Manager. He will do an individual analysis on the calculations required to estimate the Annual Energy Production (AEP) values. He will also analyze the calculations required to determine the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) that the solar PV system will generate throughout its lifetime. These analyses will be developed using System advisory Model (SAM).  As these analyses are performed, there may be several other financial modeling requirements that will be addressed as they present themselves during the calculations.