Experimental Investigation of Semi-Transparent Tracking-Integrated CPV Modules

  • Majed Abdullah Abbod Bin Saad

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Solar energy has transitioned from an expensive 'alternative' energy source to a commercially attractive generation option over the last several years. Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) technology so far achieved the highest module efficiencies on the market. Current CPV technologies only utilizes the Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) which in regions with low direct fraction, such a technology fails to compete with the conventional flat Si Photovoltaic PV panels. The new emerging technology known as Semi-Transparent Tracking Integrated CPV Module is seen to be the most promising technology due to its capability of converting the solar energy to electricity while allowing diffuse light to be transmitted through the module for different applications such as illumination of space in buildings or crops in agriculture without affecting the module efficiencies, in addition of having the tracking mechanism integrated inside the module which make it possible of mounting it on a fixed tilt angle. This research fully characterized a module of this promising technology optically, thermally, and electrically under Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates climate condition which includes the design and construction of a test-rig for a long-term experiment for the long-term outcome of investigating its potential under UAE's harsh climate conditions. The maximum electrical efficiency achieved is 26.13% with an accompanying transmittance efficiency of 26% that relies fully on the diffuse irradiance throughout the day rather than the incidence angle. In scenarios where the light transmittance was prioritized over the electrical generation, the transmittance efficiency peaks at 71.61% which translates to a daily maximum of 1.8379×109 lumens/m2 and 29.69 PAR/m2 satisfactory for daylighting and high-light crops respectively. Thermally, the test-rig compartment temperature exceeds that of the ambient by 10-15 oC while the offset between the ambient and the cells is 27.3 oC. Luckily, this increase in temperature only caused a slight decrease in electrical efficiency (1-2%).
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageAmerican English

Keywords

  • semi-transparent CPV
  • tracking integration
  • concentrator photovoltaics (CPV)
  • building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV)
  • agricultural photovoltaics
  • micro-CPV.

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