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Performance monitoring of a 60 kW photovoltaic array in Alberta

Performance monitoring of a 60 kW photovoltaic array in Alberta

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are relatively new and there is not a large amount of performance data available for them with which to compare design calculations. This comparison is also necessary to provide confidence that newer systems will perform as predicted. This chapter describes a year's monitoring of a 60 kW PV system near Strathmore, Alberta, latitude 51°, installed in November 2016. The modules were flush mounted to a roof with 8° of pitch. There was no shading and the installation was near an Alberta Department of Agriculture meteorological station which provided the weather data. The measured capacity factor was 13.8%, and there was a loss of 11%-12% of the yearly production to snow. We demonstrate that satellite-based production forecasts of the array irradiance underestimated the solar resource at this location. The predictions of actual energy production from two different modeling tools showed that the more detailed System Advisor Model software was more accurate than RETScreen.

Chapter Contents:

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Description of the PV system
  • 3.3 Weather monitoring
  • 3.4 Electricity production modeling
  • 3.5 Malfunctions and performance issues
  • 3.6 Effect of weather on performance
  • 3.7 Simulation of system performance with actual irradiance
  • 3.8 Conclusions
  • References

Inspec keywords: roofs; power engineering computing; building integrated photovoltaics; performance evaluation; solar cell arrays; snow; sunlight; computer simulation

Other keywords: capacity factor; satellite-based production; performance monitoring; Alberta; System Advisor Model software; flush mounted roof; shading; RETScreen; solar photovoltaic systems; power 60 kW; Strathmore; photovoltaic array; array irradiance; Alberta Department of Agriculture meteorological station; snow; solar resource

Subjects: Photoelectric conversion; solar cells and arrays; Solar energy; Sunlight and atmospheric radiation; North America; Power engineering computing; Land surface snow; Buildings (energy utilisation); Solar power stations and photovoltaic power systems; Solar cells and arrays

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