As much as 57% of the power lost because of temporary or partial shading of solar PV panels can be recouped with the use of a new optimization technology, according to test results released by National Semiconductor.
The company said that its SolarMagic power optimizers (which will be available this spring) improve the energy harvesting of solar panels in real-world conditions, where shading and other issues can significantly reduce the performance of solar systems.
The tests, conducted at National’s Santa Clara, CA, facility, used a screen representing typical rooftop obstructions to replicate shade on a portion of a conventionally wired solar PV system. Although 8-16% of the array was shaded over the course of a day, it resulted in average power losses of 35-40%.
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However, an identical solar array fitted with the SolarMagic devices produced an average of 30-37% more electricity in the same conditions–effectively recouping up to 57% of the lost power, according to the company.
The test and reference arrays were each made up of 2 strings with 12 PV panels per string, with both strings attached to a Xantrex inverter. The performance data were collected using the inverter company’s software and had a measuring accuracy of ±5%.