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PV (photovoltaics) performance evaluation and simulation-based energy yield prediction for tropical buildings

Publication date: Available online 2 June 2014
Author(s): Esmail M. Saber , Siew Eang Lee , Sumanth Manthapuri , Wang Yi , Chirag Deb
Air pollution and climate change increased the importance of renewable energy resources like solar energy in the last decades. Rack-mounted PhotoVoltaics (PV) and Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV) are the most common photovoltaic systems which convert incident solar radiation on façade or surrounding area to electricity. In this paper the performance of different solar cell types is evaluated for the tropical weather of Singapore. As a case study, on-site measured data of PV systems implemented in a zero energy building in Singapore, is analyzed. Different types of PV systems (silicon wafer and thin film) have been installed on rooftop, façade, car park shelter, railing and etc. The impact of different solar cell generations, arrays environmental conditions (no shading, dappled shading, full shading), orientation (South, North, East or West facing) and inclination (between PV module and horizontal direction) is investigated on performance of modules. In the second stage of research, the whole PV systems in the case study are simulated in EnergyPlus energy simulation software with several PV performance models including Simple, Equivalent one-diode and Sandia. The predicted results by different models are compared with measured data and the validated model is used to provide simulation-based energy yield predictions for wide ranges of scenarios. It has been concluded that orientation of low-slope rooftop PV has negligible impact on annual energy yield but in case of PV external sunshade, east façade and panel slope of 30–40° are the most suitable location and inclination.

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