A New Characterization Technique to Analyze Concentrator Photovoltaic Optical System Performance

dc.contributor.authorMcvey White, Patrick
dc.description.abstractConcentrator photovoltaics is a promising renewable energy technology, especially for utility or large-scale deployments. Like all new technologies, it has obstacles and setbacks to overcome. More specifically, the optics in a concentrator photovoltaics system introduce non-uniform spatial and spectral illumination on the cell, which can change under different operating conditions. This work was put together to discover a new characterization technique capable of analyzing the performance of a concentrator photovoltaics and provide insight to the field on what is happening within the system, linking modeling results seen in the literature to these experimental outcomes. The thesis is composed of three journal papers written by the candidate, who’s contributions are outlined at the beginning of each chapter. In order to study the illumination profiles on the cells, a new method to characterize the optical components had to be developed. Previous version lacked the ability to control the temperature of the lens and had low spectral resolution of the irradiance profiles. To improve, a novel indoor measurement method was developed capable of spectrally imaging concentrator photovoltaics optics and recreate outdoor operating conditions in a controllable environment. With the calibrated system, our test-bench is capable of measuring the spectral distribution with a 10μm2 resolution and characterizing the output of a system to within 3%. Exploiting this experimental technique, the individual effects of module misalignment, cell to primary distance, and lens temperature was studied for three leading technologies associated with the three generations of concentrator photovoltaics optical architectures. Focusing on Fresnel-based concentrator optics, the performance of silicone on a glass module without a secondary optic is the most sensitive to operating conditions, where lens temperature can decrease the absolute efficiency resulting in a difference of 11% in the annual energy yield. The next two generations have secondary optics but are designed slightly differently. The truncated inverted pyramid, designed independently of the primary optic, favoured higher lens temperature values and there was only a difference of 1% in the energy yield calculation. The primary and secondary optics in the 4-fold Fresnel-Kohler are designed together, due to new development tools, and showed the highest stability under the different operating conditions, demonstrating that concentrator photovoltaics is on the right track to overcoming its onset issue. As the technology matures, future designs can improve on the issues characterized within this thesis.
dc.publisherUniversité d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
dc.subjectConcentrator Photovoltaics
dc.subjectEnergy Yield
dc.subjectCPV Systems
dc.titleA New Characterization Technique to Analyze Concentrator Photovoltaic Optical System Performance
dc.contributor.supervisorSchriemer, Henry
dc.contributor.supervisorHinzer, Karin
thesis.degree.disciplineGénie / Engineering
uottawa.departmentScience informatique et génie électrique / Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -