New Publication from the SUNLAB: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics

SUNLAB has published a new paper in IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, first-authored by PhD candidate Annie Russell. This paper details a multi-year project developing a software platform called DUET (Dual-sided Energy Tracer), which calculates performance of photovoltaic modules and systems under a wide range of geometrical, electrical, and environmental conditions to incorporate detailed irradiance profiles resulting in highly accurate energy yields and other performance metrics.

Abstract: Bifacial photovoltaic (PV) performance models strive to accurately quantify rear-incident irradiance. While ray tracing models are optically rigorous, they require significant computational resources; faster view factor (VF) models are widely adopted but require user-defined loss factors to approximate rear shading and irradiance nonuniformity, introducing uncertainty in energy yield predictions. This article describes DUET—a bifacial PV performance model that calculates optical and electrical performance based on a physically representative array geometry. DUET’s novel shading algorithm pairs a 3-D VF model with deterministic ray-object intersections to capture 2-D shade-inclusive irradiance profiles while minimizing computational cost. Series and parallel combination of current–voltage curves capture irradiance nonuniformity throughout the module and array. This article provides validation against open-access system measurements from a test site in Roskilde, Denmark, and comparison to other software tested there. DUET’s modeled bifacial energy yield agrees with measured data within −1.56% for fixed-tilt and −0.65% for horizontal single-axis tracked (HSAT) systems. Mean absolute error (MAE) in hourly bifacial power is 14.2–15.0 mW/Wp for fixed-tilt and 17.3–18.3 mW/Wp for HSAT, depending on the module temperature model applied. Comparing modeled and measured rear irradiance of two rear-facing pyranometers, DUET’s MAE values of 2.8 W/m2 for fixed-tilt and 3.7 W/m2 for HSAT are among the lowest errors reported for other software tested at this site. DUET provides computationally efficient bifacial performance modeling with geographic, temporal, and structural specificity to determine loss factors for use in other performance models or to be used directly in system design optimization.

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A. C. J. Russell, C. E. Valdivia, C. Bohémier, J. E. Haysom, and K. Hinzer, DUET: A novel energy yield model with 3-D shading for bifacial photovoltaic systems, IEEE J. Photovolt. (2022).  DOI: 10.1109/JPHOTOV.2022.3185546