Sizing optimization in Solar Photovoltaic Water Pumping System: model validation in a pilot unit located in the rural community of Rio Belo, Orleans/SC, Brazil

ABSTRACT The management of water and energy resources are the main challenges that contemporary society faces nowadays. Water and energy are fundamental factors for socio-economic development of the communities, especially those in remote locations, and in this case the lack of energy is the most worrying aspect. Solar photovoltaic pumping systems have advantages for insertion in isolated communities, such as easy installation and low maintenance during the life cycle, but inappropriate sizing can create unnecessary costs or affect the water supply. Simulating performance favors the system’s sizing and allows achieving technical and economic optimization of these technology projects. This study proposes a mathematical model of simulation, use of the Generalized Reduced Gradient (GRG), solar radiation regional data, and water consumption, wells’ productivity and pumping system capacity to obtain this optimization. The model was validated in a pilot system, located in a rural community in the city of Orleans, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil. The place has one of the lowest average annual radiation in the country, approximately 4.5 kWh / m2.day. The simulation performed in the natural pilot system conditions presented results very close to the monitored behavior, thus demonstrating its efficiency. Using this tool assists in the decision-making process in designing projects and benefits the communities with access to water and energy, bringing benefits in all spheres: social, environmental and economic.