A case for accuracy: Pyranometer or satellite irradiance data?

By Mauricio Richter; Clive Lee

Accurate irradiance data is key for assessing the feasibility, profitability, and performance of solar energy assets. 3E and Kipp & Zonen investigate the benefits of combining pyranometer and satellite-based irradiance data for optimal planning and operation of PV plants

Game changers: the rise and rise of 1,500V technology

By Patrick Fetzer

Two years ago, 1,500 volt PV systems were predicted to become the industry standard in the utility-scale segment. Patrick Fetzer of 1,500V pioneer GE looks at how far the technology has come and what further innovations could lie around the corner

Crunching the numbers on floating solar

By Sara Verbruggen

A major new study published by the World Bank has underlined the scale of the opportunity represented by floating solar systems, but highlighted issues of cost, bankability and regulation still facing this emerging branch of the solar industry. Sara Verbruggen reports on the first serious piece of heavyweight analysis of the prospects for floating solar

Offshore floating solar – a technical perspective

By Børge Bjørneklett

With floating solar on lakes and reservoirs well on the way to becoming a mainstream concept, attention is now turning to the possibilities offered by offshore systems. Børge Bjørneklett describes some of the pioneering R&D work being undertaken in the race to take solar to the open seas

Advancing BIPV in Europe

By Dr. Maider Machado; Jose M. Vega de Seoane; Dr. Francoise Burgun; Dr. Ya Brigitte Assoa; Simon Challet

The EU-funded PVSITES project is working on a number of initiatives aimed at accelerating the roll-out of building-integrated PV across the continent. Members involved in the initiative outline some of the efforts being made to unleash BIPV’s as-yet untapped potential.

Investigating the impacts of floating solar on the water environment

By Dr Ian Jones; Dr Alona Armstrong

Despite the growing popularity of floating solar installations, relatively little is known about their environmental impacts on water bodies. Ian Jones and Alona Armstrong are leading a research progamme to understand more about how the environmental benefits of floating PV can be harnessed and the downsides minimised

Detailed yield analysis and optimisation of BIPV systems by simulation

By Johannes Eisenlohr

BIPV systems do not follow many of the rules associated with conventional or ground-mounted PV arrays. Johannes Eisenlohr of Fraunhofer ISE examines some of the technical solutions being developed to simulate BIPV design and thus make it more affordable.

A different direction

By Liam Stoker

As Europe and other hot PV markets transition to low- or no-subsidy environments, could a different direction help improve solar economics? Liam Stoker looks at why east-west orientated projects are increasing in popularity

Reducing uncertainty in PV yield assessments

By Mauricio Richter

When estimating the expected yield of a PV plant for financial risk assessment purposes, understanding the uncertainties of any model is crucial. Mauricio Richter of 3E investigates some of the emerging practices for obtaining and interpreting data to ensure the most accurate results

Bringing the factory floor to solar plant construction

Construction | Automated systems to speed up the construction of PV power plants have become a key tool in building bigger and cheaper projects. Sara Verbruggen looks at some of the state-of-art technologies helping the industry drive down system costs

Optimising commercial rooftop PV

By Andrew Hancock, Andrew Hancock graduated from Reading University in 2007 with an MSc in renewable energy, technology and sustainability.; Kirsty Berry, Kirsty Berry has a masters in engineering from Manchester University and Technische Universitat Berlin and a MSc in renewable systems technology from Loughborough University.

System design | Despite the decline of subsidies in the UK, well designed commercial PV systems still offer potentially attractive financial benefits to businesses. Kirsty Berry and Andrew Hancock of Syzygy Renewables detail some of the key considerations in designing and executing a commercial solar system that will deliver maximum return on investment.

Taking PV design software to the next level

System design | As PV projects get bigger and more complex, plant design programs are rising to the challenge. Sara Verbruggen looks at how some of the latest innovations in design software are helping developers win the competitiveness game

Understanding the energy yield of PV modules

By Markus Schweiger, Markus Schweiger received the diploma in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Munich and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in photovoltaics at the RWTH Aachen University. Since 2009 he has been working as a scientist and project engineer in the Solar Innovation Department at TÜV Rheinland.; Werner Herrmann, Werner Herrmann studied physics at the Technical University of Aachen and holds a PhD in PV power characterisation with solar simulators. Since 1988 he has been working at TÜV Rheinland, and has gained more than 20 years’ experience in developing standards for the PV industry.; Christos Monokroussos, Christos Monokroussos is a technical expert for TÜV Rheinland, where his activities focus on R&D, characterisation of solar cells and PV modules, quality control of measurement systems, standardisation progress and PV module reliability.; Uwe Rau, Uwe Rau studied physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and at Claude Bernard University Lyon, France. He received his diploma in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1991 in physics from the University of Tübingen, and also earned his habilitation degree in experimental physics in 2002 from the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Since 2007 he has been the director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich, and is a professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Module yield | Varying climatic conditions across markets and the individual characteristics of PV technologies undermine accurate predictions of module energy yield using conventional methods. Markus Schweiger, Werner Herrmann, Christos Monokroussos and Uwe Rau describe how a calculation of module performance ratio can be used to accurately assess the efficiency of different PV module technologies in different climates and thus the likely return on investment from a project.

Understanding the energy yield of PV modules

By Markus Schweiger, TÜV Rheinland; Werner Herrmann, TÜV Rheinland; Christos Monokroussos, TÜV Rheinland; Uwe Rau, The Institute for Energy and Climate Research

Varying climatic conditions across markets and the individual characteristics of PV technologies undermine accurate predictions of module energy yield using conventional methods. Markus Schweiger, Werner Herrmann, Christos Monokroussos and Uwe Rau describe how a calculation of module performance ratio can be used to accurately assess the efficiency of different PV module technologies in different climates and thus the likely return on investment from a project