PhD Oral Exam - Hassan Al Garni, Information Systems Engineering
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Many countries consider utilizing renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, and biomass to boost their potential for more clean and sustainable development and to gain revenues by export. In this thesis, a top-down approach of solar PV planning and optimization methodology is developed to enable high-performance at minimum costs. The first problem evaluates renewable resources and prioritizes their importance towards sustainable power generation. In the second problem, possible sites for solar PV potential are examined. In the third problem, optimal design of a grid-connected solar PV system is performed using HOMER software. A techno-economic feasibility of different system configurations including seven designs of tracking systems is conducted. In the fourth and the final problem, the optimal tilt and azimuth angles for maximum solar power generation are found. Using a detailed estimation model coded in MATLAB software, the solar irradiation on a tilted angle was estimated using a ground measurement of solar irradiation on a horizontal surface. A case study for Saudi Arabia is conducted.
The results of our prioritization study show solar PV followed by concentrated solar power are the most favorable technologies followed by wind energy. Using a real climatology and legislation data, such as roads, mountains, and protected areas, land suitability is determined via AHP-GIS model. The overlaid result suitability map shows that 16% (300,000 km2) of the study area is promising for deploying utility-size PV power plants in the north and northwest of Saudi Arabia. The optimal PV system design for Makkah, Saudi Arabia shows that the two-axis tracker can produce 34% more power than the fixed system. Horizontal tracker with continuous adjustment shows the highest net present cost (NPC) and the highest levelized cost of energy (LCOE), with a high penetration of solar energy to the grid. At different tilt and azimuth angles, the solar irradiation, potential power, and system revenue were calculated for 18 cities in Saudi Arabia. For Riyadh city (high suitable site), the monthly adjustment increases the harvested solar energy by 4%. It is recommended to adjust the tilt angle five times per year to achieve near-optimal results and minimize the cost associated with workforce or solar trackers for monthly adjustments. The proposed work can be exploited by decision-makers in the solar energy area for optimal design and analysis of grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems.