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Is it a good idea to make PV modules with 960 small cells?

At the SEAC outdoor research facility SolarBEAT a test program started aimed at special PV modules consisting of a large amount of small PV cells. The PV cells are down to 1/16th of the normal size. The idea behind it is that these modules perform much better in non-ideal situations in the built environment, where partial shading frequently occurs. This so called TESSERA concept is developed within the Scalable Shade Tolerant Module (SSTM) project, supported by the TKI Urban Energy. The project aims to determine the feasibility of the concept, based on the criteria of manufacturability, industrialization, lifetime and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

The new TESSERA modules undergo a 9 months test program in outdoor conditions. The field test consists of 6 full size TESSERA module prototypes connected to micro inverters from Heliox. As a comparison on the same location are two reference systems with standard PV modules:  with a string inverter and with micro inverters. All three systems in the test setup are installed at SolarBEAT, the outdoor test facility of SEAC. SEAC performs system performance analysis, shading experiments, components efficiency calculations and failure analysis.

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Watch this video to discover the effect of shading on solar roofs and what can you do about it!

Watch the informative video by clicking here.

Shading is a major loss factor for PV systems on roofs. Shadow can result from trees, poles, dormers, chimneys or nearby high-rise buildings. In this video these effects on the I-V and P-V curves of the PV modules are presented in a straightforward way. The video is a result of one of the SEAC experiments on mitigation of shading effects on PV systems.

Selective deployment of power optimizers (Opti-Shade) project kicked-off

The purpose of the 3 year long project is the development of a (BIPV) power optimizer/inverter system which is shadow insensitive at low investment cost. These systems have low electricity production cost (€/kWh) at high specific yield (kWh/m²) and are based on selective deployment system architectures. The expected lifetime is longer since “hotspots” in the PV modules with shadow are avoided. Additionally, more PV modules can be placed on a roof resulting in a better aesthetic result.

The project consortium consists of ECN, HELIOX, SOLNED, RESource, and SEAC.