The best combination of technology for photovoltaic energy? Double-sided solar panels and solar tracking system. This is the recipe of a group of scientists in Singapore, to obtain the best performance in most of the terrestrial photovoltaic systems.
Carlos Rodríguez-Gallegos and his colleagues from the Solar Energy Research Institute have signed the new study published these days in Joule. The research examines the production and profitability of typical photovoltaic farms. In detail, the work contrasted single-sided and tracking fixed installations (one or two axes) with double-sided ones.
The solar panels two sides have quickly positioned itself as one of the most promising trends in the clean energy sector. The ability to generate electricity with both surfaces of the modules offers a plus for production. But the basic question remains: Is the solution really cheaper than conventional technology? For scientists in Singapore, the answer is yes, but the system requires precise setup.
Energy production through photovoltaic modules can be increased not only by means of more efficient solar cells, but also by means of innovative system concepts. In this study, we explore two of these concepts in combination: tracking modules and double-sided modules.
To identify the global economic benefits associated with using this combination, the team analyzed the total radiation reaching the ground each day (data from NASA and CERES). Therefore, they adapted this information to take into account the influence of the position of the module with respect to the sun. The work focused on large photovoltaic systems made up of thousands of modules.
The group thus discovered that double-sided solar panels equipped with a single-axis tracking system not only provide higher performance than other options, but also reduce the cost of energy (LCOE).
In detail, this combination produces almost 35% more electricity on average, reducing the LCOE by an average of 16%. And they continue to be so in 93.1% of the world.
The results are stable, even when taking into account changes in weather conditions and the costs of modules and other components. This means that investing in double-sided and solar tracking systems should be a safe bet for the near future.
The model suggests that double-sided solar panels combined with single-axis tracking technology are more cost-effective almost anywhere on the planet, although dual-axis trackers are a more suitable solution for latitudes near the poles. But despite the clear advantages of this technology, Rodríguez-Gallegos does not expect it to immediately become the new industry standard.
” The photovoltaic market is traditionally conservative, ” says the scientist. “ Tests show that double-sided technology and tracking technology are reliable and we are seeing more of them in the field. However, transitions take time: it will be necessary to demonstrate whether these benefits can really be of interest to installers . “
More information: www.cell.com