Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

Applied Photovoltaics

Energy Yield from PV Systems

Geographical potential and impact modelling for PV

Current work within the research group involves building a geographically-resolved National Solar Profile.  Data from UK weather stations is being interpolated to create a set of contiguous pixels, each containing an irradiance value, for all the British Isles.  Spatial databases, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and statistical software support this task.  The resulting irradiance maps will be enhanced with cloud satellite data and topographic measurements.  With these new tools, the impact of long-term meteorological trends on solar irradiation will be investigated. 

Once the amount of sunlight per square metre at any given time is known, existing electrical models will be integrated to calculate PV energy generation for a variety of installation scenarios.  The impact of photovoltaic energy produced per postcode on the National Grid can then be modelled using network analysis.

Further possibilities for GIS in PV Systems include study of shading, location and orientation of panels, as well as relating installation numbers per area to socio-economic status.

PV System Performance & Lifetime Energy Yield Modelling

Customisable, high resolution energy yield modelling is performed using in-house developed software and simulation packages. Areas of expertise include: the development and comparison of dynamic shading models for the generation of inhomogeneous illumination profiles; cell behaviour and interaction under inhomogeneous illumination; optical system modelling and design optimisation; concentrator PV system performance modelling and design optimisation; long term component and system ageing; full lifecycle financial yield prediction; inverter performance modelling; and parameter standardisation.


The figures above show modelled performance of the same solar cell in two different environments: Loughborough, UK on the left and Seville, Spain on the right. The relatively unpredictable nature of the meteorological environment in Loughborough is seen in the many peaks and troughs of the left-hand figure.


This figure shows a solar cell illumination profile generated by ray tracing a realistic solar source description through an ideally tracked 20-facet Fresnel lens optical system. A significant amount of power is distributed beyond the focal point. This is often overlooked in current concentrator-PV system modelling.