Solar Technology Selection

Various solar technologies are available having their own advantages. Each technology has a different concept. These technologies must be compared and analyzed to define the right selection for the given operating conditions. This article limits the discussion to two best technologies available as on date. These are:

  • Concentrated Solar Power
  • Solar Photovoltaic

The Concentrated Solar Power or CSP uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver. The heat energy generated is transferred to a fluid to generate steam for operating steam turbines or can be used for hot water supply or other process applications. The technology ensures to achieve high temperatures that are thermodynamically economical. At present, CSP is limited to large scale plants.

The Solar Photovoltaic or SPV collects and converts solar radiation directly into electricity using several panels of PV modules. SPV is established and proven technology for small and large size projects. SPV is  widely used as it is cost effective, highly reliable and has relative smaller project gestation period as compared to CSP.

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Individual solar cells are arranged onto a solar panel. The solar panel is either glass coated or laminated to protect the cells from damage. Normally, the cells are encapsulated in Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) between a transparent window and moisture – proof backing to insulate and protect them. The electrical performance of a module is as in figure below.

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One must evaluate below factors for selection of any SPV modules

  • Open–circuit Voltage – Voc
  • Short–circuit Current – Isc
  • Voltage Corresponding to MPP – Vmp
  • Current Corresponding to MPP – Maximum power – Pm
  • Normal Operating Cell Temperature – NOCT

These values are compared at solar irradiation of 1000 W/m2 with a spectrum of AM 1.5 and solar cell temperature of 25°C.

NOCT is the value of cell temperature when incident solar radiation is 800 W/m2, ambient temperature is 20°C and wind velocity is 1 meter/second.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row]