Photovoltaic energy yield modelling under desert and moderate climates: What-if exploration of different cell technologies
PV module testing under standard conditions is an important and well-established procedure, which plays a vital role in module rating. However, PV modules rarely operate at standard conditions therefore their field performance should be predicted based on long term outdoor monitoring or by means of models – so called energy yield models, which combine PV module characteristics with varying environmental conditions. The present work employs a bottom-up, physics-based energy yield modelling approach, which accounts to the interacting optical, thermal and electrical mechanisms in a detailed manner. Additionally, measured data is used for the accurate calibration of the models. Such an approach permits to explore the influence of cell- and module technology details on energy yield under any specific environmental conditions. The present work employs such a method to evaluate the influence of Silicon solar cell technology on energy yield under desert and moderate climates, where the interplay of different irradiance and ambient temperature levels result in a challenging PV performance prediction problem. The purpose of this work is to identify the best-suited solar cell technologies and to understand the underlying mechanisms, which lead to superior PV performance under specific climate conditions. The study is performed by means of physics-based exploratory energy yield simulations with detailed resolution of the thermal effects. Our comparison of four different cell technologies in monofacial modules highlights that superior illumination-dependent performance can contribute to annual energy yield enhancement under both moderate and desert climates amounting to 1.75% and 0.4%, respectively; while a 0.04%/°C advantage in relative temperature coefficient increases annual energy yield (by 1.2%) only under a desert climate.