University of Twente Student Theses


Modelling the yield of building integrated photovoltaic systems employing free space luminescent solar concentrators

Rikhof, Anne (2023) Modelling the yield of building integrated photovoltaic systems employing free space luminescent solar concentrators.

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Abstract:Solar panels generate electricity by absorbing the freely-available incoming solar irradiance, thereby playing an important role towards the renewable energy transition. Bifacial cells accept light from both faces, the front and rear, generating a higher output compared to their monofacial counterparts. If optimal reflectors are installed around a bifacial solar plant, the yield of the rear face can be enhanced even further. This combination of bifacial solar cells and reflectors also opens doors for new building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) designs. A novel material called the free space luminescent solar concentrator (FSLSC) can concentrate diffuse light, i.e. a wide range of wavelengths coming from different directions, into a narrow cone, which can be directed towards a solar cell to increase its PV yield. This thesis aims to enhance the annual yield of the system by optimizing the cone size of the FSLSC. This is done by extending a reverse ray tracing model with a model of the properties of an FSLSC. When a bifacial module is placed in front of an FSLSC and the module’s tilt and distance to the FSLSC are varied, the results indicate that a cone size of approximately 40 degrees yields the highest short-circuit density, assuming realistic loss properties of the material. At this angle, there is an optimal balance between the yield increase due to the concentration factor and the yield decrease due to the increasing loss mechanism occurrences as result of the light being trapped longer in the FSLSC. Applying an FSLSC on a house’s façade, redirecting the light to a solar fence, shows an annual yield increase of the solar fence of 39.3%, outperforming an optimally tilted monofacial solar panel up to 58% in winter. Comparing this to a specular (mirror-like) and diffuse reflector, the annual yield of the solar fence can be increased to 47,1% and 20.9%, respectively. Safety risks concerning specular reflectors eliminate this from being a socio-economically acceptable option, showing that the FSLSC is the reflector with the largest increase in yield while limiting the negative socio-economic impact of the studied reflectors. Future research should be aimed at further enhancing the FSLSC’s yield by optimizing the cone tilt for which a methodology is proposed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Subject:50 technical science in general
Programme:Sustainable Energy Technology MSc (60443)
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