Impact of reflective torque tube on rear side irradiance in bifacial photovoltaic modules

Title: Impact of reflective torque tube on rear side irradiance in bifacial photovoltaic modules
Authors: Coathup, Trevor J.
Lewis, Mandy R.
Russell, Annie C. J.
Conesa, Alejandro
Guerrero-Perez, Javier
Valdivia, Christopher E.
Hinzer, Karin
Date: 2022
Abstract: Non-uniform irradiance on the rear side of bifacial photovoltaic (PV) modules causes electrical mismatch between cells and energy loss across the module. Racking structures increase this non-uniformity through shadows and reflections that vary throughout the day. However, commercial software typically use constant values to estimate mismatch losses in annual simulations. We investigate the impact of torque tube shading and reflection on rear side irradiance mismatch in bifacial PV modules in one-in-portrait (1P) and two-in-portrait (2P) horizontal single-axis trackers with a range of ground albedos over a typical meteorological year in Livermore, California, USA. Irradiance simulations use a version of bifacial_radiance, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s python wrapper for the RADIANCE ray tracing software, which we modified for arbitrary 2D irradiance sampling of the module(s) under investigation. For a torque tube reflectivity of 0.745, torque tube reflection accounts for 3.0% and 5.5% of the annual rear insolation in 1P and 2P configurations, respectively, for a 0.2 albedo; or 2.9% and 3.1% for a 0.6 albedo. Torque tube reflection decreases annual rear insolation mismatch from 11.8% to 10.7% in 1P configurations, and from 11.5% to 9.8% in 2P configurations with 0.2 albedo. Similarly, with 0.6 albedo, annual rear insolation mismatch decreases from 12.6% to 11.6% in 1P configurations, and from 11.9% to 10.4% in 2P configurations. However, we demonstrate that annual figures are insufficient for capturing the impact of torque tube reflection; seasonal and diurnal variations must also be considered.
DOI: 10.1117/12.2615658
CollectionScience informatique et génie électrique - Publications // Electrical Engineering and Computer Science - Publications