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Holistic Monitoring and Control (HoMeriC) System for Reliable and Efficient Photovoltaic Technologies


Project Description

Aim and Hypothesis

Interest in photovoltaic power generation has increased in recent years thanks to its inexhaustible and clean renewable energy resource. The wide distribution of photovoltaic panel production, however, has not been followed by a similar development in the monitoring, fault detection, diagnosis and tolerance functions and methods to ensure better efficiency and profitability. Nevertheless, due to the high economic investment that they usually involve, PV systems’ reliability is becoming of concern.

This project aims to devise a novel holistic methodology consisting in the design of new monitoring circuits, advanced diagnosis algorithms and proactive and reactive actions to guarantee that PV systems keep on operating effectively and efficiently also in presence of faults and malfunctions of their components, thus guaranteeing continuous reliability, high energy-efficiency and adequate investment profitability.

Methodology and Innovations

Recent studies have shown that faults and malfunctions affecting both the PV modules and peripheral electronics in charge of power conversion and control can impair the efficiency of such green energy generation systems, if not lead to catastrophic effects for their functionality. However, research aiming to develop solutions to tackle these issues is still in its very early stage. In order to fill this gap in research and technology, the proposed project targets the development of innovative and low cost (in terms of area and power consumption) real-time monitoring techniques to detect possible faults and malfunctions affecting the whole PV system. Then, an advanced diagnostic system (based on machine learning) will capitalise on the data provided by the monitoring system in order to identify the root causes of possible malfunctions. The output of this stage will drive a new devised fault-tolerant actuation system, which will be in charge to react upon the detection of a malfunction, for instance bypassing the faulty modules or circuitry, and using small spares to guarantee the system functionality until a maintenance operation is carried out. This set of actions will allow preventing the occurrence of a catastrophic fault and restoring the proper functionality of the PV system, minimizing the impact on reliability and energy efficiency. The innovative, holistic approach will represent a plug & play solution that will further boost the use of PV system as a source of green energy.

Application Web Page

Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/how-to-apply/. Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/


The final deadline for application is 12 April 2019.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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