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Model (At Least) Twice, Build Once: Experiences with the Design-Bid-Build Process for Solar Photovoltaic Arrays

Published

Author(s)

Brian P. Dougherty, Matthew Boyd

Abstract

Commercial-size solar photovoltaic arrays were designed, constructed and are now operational on the Gaithersburg, Maryland campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A design-bid-build process was followed where the contractors used photovoltaic system modeling tools during both the design phase and during the post-bid, pre-build phase. To help investigate specific aspects of the contractors’ evolving designs, the authors conducted their own independent photovoltaic system modeling. This independent modeling helped identify design elements that could be improved and so aided efforts to maximize the annual renewable energy generation. An estimated 5.1 % gain in annual energy generation was realized from this modeling effort. To provide a context for the modeling work and the lessons learned in carrying out a design–bid–build process, key events impacting the process for the photovoltaic sites are described. The installed systems are summarized. The proposed designs versus the installed systems are compared. A brief chronology is also offered. Besides trying to provide the reader with “food for thought” in the event that they embark on a similar construction process, the paper also seeks to provide an introduction to those individuals interested in following the data monitoring process that is now underway.
Citation
ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering: Including Wind Energy and Building Energy Conservation

Keywords

Photovoltaic arrays, PV system modeling, design-bid-build

Citation

Dougherty, B. and Boyd, M. (2017), Model (At Least) Twice, Build Once: Experiences with the Design-Bid-Build Process for Solar Photovoltaic Arrays, ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering: Including Wind Energy and Building Energy Conservation, [online], https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4036055 (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created March 21, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018