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Feasibility Study and Optimal Design of stand-alone directly coupled photovoltaic water

pumping system for irrigation application in Rwanda.


Water resources play an important role in agriculture. In Rwanda, around 80-85 % of the
population lives in villages and depends on agriculture as a major occupation. This makes
agricultural sector for having a big contribution to the development of Rwanda economy.
However, a scarcity of electricity coupled with the increasing unreliability of seasonal rains
and prevalent costly diesel pumping systems pose an economic risk to small and marginal
farmers. One way to cope with this situation is to introduce a stand-alone photovoltaic water
pumping system for irrigating their crops during the sunny day.

In todays technology, conventional electrical motors (induction motors, synchronous motors,

permanent magnet synchronous motors and permanent magnet DC motors) are used for water
pumping system (WPS). A viable promising cost effective alternative to these conventional
motors in these small scale rural applications is switched reluctance motor (SRM). More
importantly SRMs are cheap, robust, no winding in the rotor, have a very simple construction
and fault tolerant. However, for an operation speed and torque, the stator current must be
turned on and off at a right rotor position to produce the desired torque which requires a
precise control algorithm.

Several researches about WPS using reluctance motors have been carried out, especially the
dynamic performance of the photovoltaic pumping systems utilizing reluctance motor drives.
M. Nabil et al. made a research on performance improvement of a PV water pumping system
using a synchronous reluctance motor. Later, Vijay et al. established PWM control strategy of
SRM in PV-fed water pumping system (WPS) and its implementation using high parallel
computing FPGA Spartan 3AN board.Muamer M. Shebani and Tariq Iqbal studied the
dynamic modeling, control, and analysis of a solar water pumping system for Libya, recent
publications by B. Singh et al .highlighted the performance of solar photovoltaic array fed
water pumping system utilizing switched reluctance motor. (SRM).
This paper presents the optimal design of an off-grid directly coupled photovoltaic (PV)
pumping system for irrigation application in Rwanda. Performance evaluation of the system
was evaluated based on different weather conditions such as irradiation effect and
temperature. A fully dynamic model of a solar PV water pumping system utilizing switched
reluctance motor connected to a centrifugal pump was presented in Matlab/Simulink
environment. A DC-DC booster converter connected between PV array and load has been
used in the system for maintaining the motor voltage within a permissible range and by
forcing the PV array to operate closely to maximum power point. The results show that an
improvement in the system efficiency can be achieved when motor is running at a specific
speed rather than at the PV peak power point.


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