Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2010


Timothy Anderson

Course Title

Operations Research in Engineering and Technology

Course Number

ETM 540/640


Sustainable development -- Planning, Renewable energy resources, Urban community development, Ecological regions -- Planning, Photovoltaic power generation


The goal of this project is to determine the least cost strategy for the development of a photovoltaic system for an eco-district. An eco-district is the next generation in green building design and expands the idea of a single building to an entire urban region. One of the key issues with eco-districts is the idea of net-zero energy, which is the requirement that the district must produce as much green energy as it uses. Since eco-districts encompass a larger geographic area, there are more options available in the design, location, sizing and financing for a green energy system. The question posed in this project is whether it is more cost effective to have multiple systems spread across multiple small sites (such as roof tops) or have a few large systems located on a single large open site.

The LP model for this project looked at minimizing cost while still achieving the system size goals set by the demand load of the model. The district that was evaluated was a modified version of the PSU Eco District. The district area was modified to include two large open site options, but fewer buildings. Data for the model was collected from a number of sources, including area and location information from Google Earth and pricing information from accepted industry costing estimate guides. The LP model was developed using the Excel Solver program.

The results of the project were interesting. A first pass analysis of the results showed that the smaller sites were the more cost effective design scenario. But further analysis of the numbers showed that the high cost of the large site was due mostly to the interconnect cost required because the site was located farther away from the point of usage than the smaller sites. This result emphasized the importance of both district selection criteria, as well as the financial advantages of using existing utility transmission infrastructure instead of developing new infrastructure for the district.

There are future add-ons that could be done as a continuation of this project. The biggest is a more advanced financial model that includes not only more detailed costing design scenarios, but also includes some of the tax and grant incentives associated with green energy.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


This project is only available to students, staff, and faculty of Portland State University

Persistent Identifier