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TitleImpact of measured spectrum variation on solar photovoltaic efficiencies worldwide
AuthorKinsey, G S; Riedel-Lyngskær, N C; Miguel, A -A; Boyd, M; Braga, M; Shou, C; Cordero, R R; Duck, B C; Fell, C J; Feron, S; Georghiou, G E; Habryl, N; John, J J; Ketjoy, N; López, G; Louwen, A; Maweza, E L; Minemoto, T; Mittal, A; Molto, C; Neves, G; Garrido, G N; Norton, M; Paudyal, B R; Pereira, E B; Poissant, YORCID logo; Pratt, L; Shen, Q; Reindl, T; Rennhofer, M; Rodríguez-Gallegos, C D; Rüther, R; Sark, W; Sevillano-Bendezú, M A; Seigneur, H; Tejero, J A; Theristis, M; Töfflinger, J A; Ulbrich, C; Vilela, W A; Xia, X; Yamasoe, M A
SourceRenewable Energy vol. 196, 2022 p. 995-1016, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20220237
Mediapaper; digital; on-line
File formatpdf
SubjectsEconomics and Industry; Science and Technology; energy resources; energy; spectral analyses; solar energy; Renewable energy; Irradiation; Forecasting
Illustrationsspectra; tables; graphs; plots
ProgramCANMET Energy - Varennes Administration - Planning
Released2022 07 14
AbstractIn photovoltaic power ratings, a single solar spectrum, AM1.5, is the de facto standard for record laboratory efficiencies, commercial module specifications, and performance ratios of solar power plants. More detailed energy analysis that accounts for local spectral irradiance, along with temperature and broadband irradiance, reduces forecast errors to expand the grid utility of solar energy. Here, groundlevel measurements of spectral irradiance collected worldwide have been pooled to provide a sampling of geographic, seasonal, and diurnal variation. Applied to nine solar cell types, the resulting divergence in solar cell efficiencies illustrates that a single spectrum is insufficient for comparisons of cells with different spectral responses. Cells with two or more junctions tend to have efficiencies below that under the standard spectrum. Silicon exhibits the least spectral sensitivity: relative weekly site variation ranges from 1% in Lima, Peru to 14% in Edmonton, Canada.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells, are rated at Standard Test Conditions (STC) that include the AM1.5 solar spectrum. This spectrum describes the fraction of the incoming solar resource corresponding to the different wavelengths of light (or colors in the visible part of the solar spectrum), for a reference case. While STC conditions are used to rate solar cells, the spectrum of incoming light varies continuously in real operating conditions (e.g. reddish sky at dusk and dawn) . This can lead to over or under-performance of solar cells relative to their rated power as the spectrum varies. This work pools together measurements of spectra from different locations worldwide and uses it to quantify the impact of varying spectra on the efficiency of nine types of photovoltaic cells. The impact of spectrum is studied as a function of location, season and time of day. For the most common type of photovoltaic cell, namely cells made of crystalline silicon, spectral effects can lead to differences in performance of up to 14% from week to week.

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