Implementing a 15 kW Electric Solar Power System as a Student Project

Implementing a 15 kW Electric Solar Power System as a Student Project

T. Lahtinen, J. Kuusela (2016).  Implementing a 15 kW Electric Solar Power System as a Student Project. 10.

Implementing a 15 kW Electric Solar Power System as a Student Project

Teijo Lahtinen Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland Jussi Kuusela Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland


In Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) the students of Energy and Environmental Technology can specialize in Renewable Energy Technologies. They have done a lot of research-based studies and projects, but the real hands-on projects were missing from the curriculum. On the other hand, in Degree Programme of Mechatronics there was a long tradition of these types of projects starting from the first academic year. In the Niemi Campus the facility owner (Osaamiskiinteistöt Oy) expressed that the energy efficiency of the facilities should be improved. Due to these facts, we launched a project where an electric solar power system was installed in the Niemi Campus.

The main specifications for the system were: - 10 kW nominal power (+ 5 kW reserve for wind mill) - Grid inverter included (no batteries) - Web based-data logging and remote control to customer’s server - Mounting brackets and accessories for the panels - Training and start-up (1 day)

Nocart Oy won the invitation to tender and they delivered the system in January 2015. After that the project group was formed: 3 instructors, 7 students of environmental technology and 2 exchange students (electrical engineering) from UPC Barcelona Spain. Also ICT students of LUAS Faculty of Technology were involved in this project. The data logging server, which was connected both to the Solar Power System and the advanced weather station (big data) were their main tasks.

An experienced project manager (Mechatronics), who is also a licensed contractor of electrical installations, took the main role in project management. The safety issues had the outmost importance when working with inexperienced students 30 m above the ground level. The project manager was assisted by two instructors.

The Spanish exchange students created simulation models (MultiSim) for the components of the Inverter Control Cabinet (DC-DC Converter, Inverter and Harmonics Filter). They also had a major role in wiring the system and assisted in mechanical installations of panel frames. The students of environmental technology cut aluminum profiles and assembled them as panel frames. The panel frames have also counterweights (20 kg bricks of concrete), which have to be installed carefully not to damage the roof material. This phase of the project took the most of the time.

At this time the system is under the final inspections and settings. It will be connected to the grid during November 2015. The facility owner gave us excellent feedback, saying that the project had a “professional touch”. Also the students were happy with the project. The system will be used as a learning platform to study electric solar systems. The project was international and multidisciplinary and gave us a lot of information about how to run projects like this.

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

Authors (New): 
Teijo Lahtinen
Jussi Kuusela
Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland
project learning
Active learning
renewable energy (solar)
multidisciplinary projects
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 6
CDIO Standard 7
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