Renew. Energy Environ. Sustain.
Volume 2, 2017
Sustainable energy systems for the future
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||08 September 2017|
Performance assessment issues in utility-scale photovoltaics in warm and sunny climates★
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina,
Caixa Postal 476,
* e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 7 July 2017
Accepted: 27 July 2017
With the declining costs of photovoltaics (PV), and the excellent solar energy resource availability in the country, the Brazilian government and the electricity sector have started to evaluate and consider PV as a serious potential contributor to the National electricity mix. Since the late 1990s, Brazilian electrical utilities are required by the National Electrical Energy Regulatory Agency ANEEL to invest 1% of their operational income on R&D. In 2011 ANEEL issued an R&D call dedicated to utility-scale PV. The solar energy research group at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (www.fotovoltaica.ufsc.br) has been actively investigating and promoting PV in Brazil, operates since 1997 the first grid-connected, thin-film PV generator in the country. Under the ANEEL R&D call, a 4-year, US$ 20 million project was started in 2012. The project aims at assessing the performance of seven different PV technologies at eight different Evaluation Sites (ES) in Brazil, and also to design, procure, install and monitor the performance of a utility-scale 3 MWp R&D PV power plant, which is located at one of these eight ES. The 3 MWp PV power plant and all the eight ES are fully monitored, with all electrical and environmental parameters measured at 1-s intervals. PV technologies include thin-film amorphous silicon (a-Si), microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium diselenide, mono- and multi-crystalline silicon (c-Si and m-Si), all at fixed tilt, as well as double-axis tracking, concentrated PV using triple-junction InGap/GaAs/Ge at 820 suns concentration. All ES are identical, except for the fixed PV arrays tilt angle, which is equal to the latitude at each site. The 3 MWp R&D PV power plant is co-located at one of the ES sites. Thin-film PV technologies with a low temperature coefficient of power presented superior output performance, and cloud-edge and cloud-enhancement effects of solar irradiance resulted in operational issues that were not previously described in the literature. Inverter Loading Ratios commonly described in the literature (for less sunny sites) led to considerable annual energy losses.
© R. Ruther et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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