Power Electronics Design Implications of Novel Photovoltaic Collector Geometries and Their Application for Increased Energy Harvest
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The declining cost of photovoltaic (PV) modules has enabled the vision of ubiquitous photovoltaic (PV) power to become feasible. Emerging PV technologies are facilitating the creation of intentionally non-flat PV modules, which create new applications for this sustainable energy generation currently not possible with the traditional rigid, flat silicon-glass modules. However, since the photovoltaic cells are no longer coplanar, there are significant new requirements for the power electronics necessary to convert the native form of electricity into a usable form and ensure maximum energy harvest. Non-uniform insolation from cell-to-cell gives rise to non-uniform current density in the PV material, which limits the ability to create series-connected cells without bypass diode or other ways to shunt current, which is well known in the maximum power tracking literature. This thesis presents a modeling approach to determine and quantify the variations in generation of energy due to intentionally non-flat PV geometries. This will enable the power electronics circuitry to be optimized to harvest maximum energy from PV pixel elements – clusters of PV cells with similar operating characteristics. This thesis systematically compares different geometries with identical two-dimensional projection "footprints" for energy harvest throughout the day. The results show that for the same footprint, a semi-cylindrical surface harvests more energy over a typical day than a flat plate. The modeling approach is then extended to demonstrate that by using non flat geometries for PV panel, the availability of a remotely located stand-alone power system can be increased when compared to a flat panel of same footprint. These results have broad application to a variety of energy scavenging scenarios in which either total energy harvested needs to be maximized or unusual geometries for the PV active surfaces are required, including building-integrated PV. This thesis develops the analysis of the potential energy harvest gain for advanced non-planar PV collectors as a necessary first step towards the design of the power electronics circuits and control algorithms to take advantage of the new opportunities of conformal and non-flat PV collectors.
SubjectThird generation Photovoltaics
Power electronic design implications
Increased energy harvest, solar energy, power electronics, energy harvest, maximum power point tracking, photovoltaic energy system, conformal photovoltaic, flexible photovoltaic
Karavadi, Amulya (2011). Power Electronics Design Implications of Novel Photovoltaic Collector Geometries and Their Application for Increased Energy Harvest. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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