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Since usage of fossil fuels for producing electricity causes climate change, renewable energy options have become one of the best substitution for fossil fuels. Solar energy promises high amount of resources for producing electricity. Among solar energy alternatives, Photovoltaic (PV) and Parabolic Trough Collectors (PTC) are dominant in the market. This paper compares middle size of PV and PTC power plant for the electricity need of Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus. Based on the maximum hourly demand of METU NCC, both PV and PTC are sized to 3 MWe. The simulations were performed via SAM software using the hourly values from typical meteorological data, which include solar irradiation, wind speed, dry and wet bulb temperatures, relative humidity and pressure. For the PTC and PV plants, commercially available components are used. The scenario assumes METU NCC to be a grid-connected micro-grid with one-way tariff, so that any deficit energy can be met by the utility and any excess energy produced by the suggested renewable energy systems will be given to the grid for free. The results indicate that 3 MW PV plant would generate annual energy of about 4.95 GWh with a capacity factor of 18.9%. These numbers would yield to a LCOE value of 2.60 ¢/kWh. On the other hand, the suggested 3 MW PTC plant with 2 solar multiple would supply about annual energy of 6.3 GWh at a capacity factor of 24.0%. The LCOE of the energy from PTC plant was estimated to be 8.47 ¢/kWh due to high capital and operation cost of PTC plants compared to PV plants. However, over years the cost of PTC power plants has been decreasing. Additionally, both PTC plant and PV plant would consume water only for cleaning purposes that makes them suitable for Cyprus water scarcity conditions. Overall, this study shows pros and cons of middle-sized PV and PTC plants with the case study of METU NCC.
Keywords: economic comparison, levelized cost of energy, parabolic trough, photovoltaic, renewable energy, solar energy
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