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Output variation of photovoltaic modules with environmental factors - I. The effect of spectral solar radiation on photovoltaic module output

by Youichi Hirata, Tatsuo Tani
Solar Energy ()
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In this study, it was investigated how changes in spectral solar radiation effects the output of photovoltaic modules. First, there was a precise examination of the seasonal changes in spectral solar radiation. Consequently, it was found that the ratio of spectral solar radiation available for solar cell utilization, to global solar radiation, changes from season to season. It varied, from 5% for polycrystalline silicon cells, to 14% for amorphous silicon cells, throughout one year. Obviously a cell made from amorphous silicon is more severely effected by seasonal variations. Next, the seasonal changes of photovoltaic module output were examined. The output was calculated by the conventional output evaluation method using irradiance and cell temperature. This calculated value and the subsequently measured value were accumulated and the two values compared. As a result, the accumulated output of photovoltaic modules was confirmed as changing seasonally in the same way as spectral solar radiation. The output ratio of polycrystalline silicon was found to change by 4%, while that of amorphous silicon varied by 20%. Hence the seasonal variations in spectral solar radiation should be taken into account for optimum photovoltaic power system design.

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