In pursuit of accurate irradiance measurements Part 2: Sensors and beyond

By Anton Driesse, Anton Driesse is a seasoned independent consultant to the photovoltaics industry. Through his company PV Performance Labs he helps clients in Europe and North America gain deeper insights into performance through measurement, data analysis and modelling. He maintains strong links to the research community through collaborative work, such as the PVSENSOR project he leads, and through activities with organisations such as IEEE, ASTM, IEA PVPS.; Joshua Stein, Joshua Stein is a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, and works in the area of PV and grid integration. He currently develops and validates models of solar irradiance, PV system performance, reliability, and PV interactions with the grid. Joshua leads the PV Performance Modeling Collaborative at Sandia and is a member of the IEA PVPS Task 13 Working Group on PV performance and reliability.

Resource assessment | Irradiance sensors are vital tools for protecting investment in valuable solar power plants and ensuring they perform optimally. In the second of two articles on a major study they are leading to better understand these diminutive components, Anton Driesse and Joshua Stein discuss how inaccuracies in irradiance measurement can be quantified and managed.

Designs on quality O&M

By Emanuele Tacchino, Emanuele Tacchino is a business development manager in the Western Europe and Middle East division of Alectris. He has over a decade of experience in solar PV project management, dealing with PV projects or plant transactions and involving the development, construction and operation of PV plants

O&M | Operations and maintenance has traditionally been thought of as something that happens after a PV power plant has been built and connected. But as Emanuele Tacchino writes, planning for the successful operation of a project, particularly a new PV market, begins long before construction.

BIPV: Living up to expectations

By Ben Willis, Editor, PV Tech

Building integrated PV: Despite plenty of hype, BIPV has remained a niche segment in the solar business, held back by a combination of high costs and low efficiencies. But as Ben Willis hears, the high-profile entry of Tesla on to the BIPV scene could herald the start of a new era for the sector.

Surveying the scene: How a new robot is revolutionising site surveying

By Danielle Ola, Editor, PV Tech

All parts of the PV supply chain are under pressure to reduce costs and boost the competitiveness of solar. A new rover vehicle developed for site surveying work promises to help significantly reduce labour costs in the construction of large-scale solar projects.

Rubber stamping bankability

By Sara ver Bruggen

Certifying the quality and performance of an entire PV array has been a notable development in the past two years. Sara ver Bruggen looks at the extent to which developers, investors and insurers are turning to plant-level certification to guarantee the design, construction quality and performance of a PV system.

One-track mind

By Danielle Ola, Solar Media

In a relatively short space of time, single-axis trackers have become the mounting technology of choice in utility-scale PV plants. Danielle Ola reports on the technological and economic drivers that have fuelled their meteoric rise and look set to ensure continued growth around the world for some time to come.

Shortcomings and developments in PV forecasting

By Jan Remund, Meteotest

Accurate forecasting is becoming increasingly important as PV penetration grows. Jan Remund of Meteotest looks at some of the recent developments in forecasting science and the work going on to improve this vital aspect of solar’s interaction with the grid.

Pyranometers versus reference cells for solar monitoring

By Peter N. Johnson, AWS Truepower

As the solar industry gains momentum, there is an increasing need for on-site resource monitoring using pyranometers and reference cells. Peter N. Johnson of AWS Truepower introduces the technical specifications and limitations of industry-standard pyranometers and reference cells, and outlines best practices for monitoring with this equipment. How solar measurements can be used to improve resource and energy estimates for utility-scale PV projects is also discussed.

Just-in-time deliver of PV power plants

By Maren Orgus, Hanwha Q CELLS; Mauro di Fiore, Hanwha Q CELLS

Meeting the exact delivery schedule of large-scale power plants is crucial for fulfilling customer expectations and contract specifications. Mauoro di Fiore and Maren Orgus of Hanwha Q CELLS discuss how to overcome specific local challenges to deliver large-scale power plants on time and on budget.

Future developments in BIPV and energy effiency in the fiht against climate change

By Dr. Silke Krawietz, CEO and Scientific Director, SETA Network

BIPV | Building-integrated PV has yet to live up to its promise, remaining a niche sector of the solar industry. However, as Silke Krawietz writes, European and international climate and energy goals, and a chance of reviving the European PV manufacturing industry, all offer BIPV the opportunity of becoming a mainstream technology.

Top of the world

By Andy Colthorpe, Reporter

Commercial rooftops | Innovations in commercial rooftop PV mounting systems are offering new possibilities for installers as they seek to drive down costs. Andy Colthorpe looks at some of the key developments that are helping breathe life into a segment that has so far been slow to take off.

Motivation for single axis solar trackers versus fixed tilt

By Matt Kisber, President & CEO, Silicon Ranch Corporation

Trackers | The economic argument for trackers is increasingly compelling. Matt Kisber, president and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation explains why the technology’s use is increasing and examines the benefits of opting for single axis tracking systems.

The art and science of pyranometers

By Ben Willis, Head of Content

Irradiance measurement | Pyranometers play a crucial role in gathering irradiance data for PV yield and performance modelling. Ben Willis explores this sometimes-overlooked piece of technology and efforts by researchers to improve our understanding of its characteristics.

PlantPredict: Utility-scale PV modelling software for solar project life-cycle assessment

By Bodo Littmann, Manager of Prediction Technology at First Solar

Modelling | First Solar has developed an energy assessment software platform that models the electrical generation of utility-scale PV power plants. This software, called PlantPredict, is an enterprise application that streamlines and fulfils many energy simulation needs throughout the project development life cycle, from the site prospecting, through design and optimisation, and contractual commitments, to power plant monitoring. Bodo Littmann and Alex Panchula of First Solar discuss some unique models required for characterising CdTe power plant performance, and outline the PlantPredict tool’s use throughout the project development phases, with the goal of ultimately lowering the total cost of ownership of PV power plants.