Energies, vol.13, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
Considering the recent drop (up to 86%) in photovoltaic (PV) module prices from 2010 to 2017, many countries have shown interest in investing in PV plants to meet their energy demand. In this study, a detailed design methodology is presented to achieve high benefits with low installation, maintenance and operation costs of PV plants. This procedure includes in detail the semi-hourly average time meteorological data from the location to maximise the accuracy and detailed characteristics of different PV modules and inverters. The minimum levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and maximum annual energy are the objective functions in this proposed procedure, whereas the design variables are the number of series and parallel PV modules, the number of PV module lines per row, tilt angle and orientation, inter-row space, PV module type, and inverter structure. The design problem was solved using a recent hybrid algorithm, namely, the grey wolf optimiser-sine cosine algorithm. The high performance for LCOE-based design optimisation in economic terms with lower installation, maintenance and operation costs than that resulting from the use of maximum annual energy objective function by 12%. Moreover, sensitivity analysis showed that the PV plant performance can be improved by decreasing the PV module annual reduction coefficient.