San Diego State University - Minds That Move the World

Solar Energy

SDSU Masters Theses: Tyler Otto

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Tyler Otto
Master of Science in Physics (Candidate)
San Diego State University
Specialization in Thermal Sciences    
2007 - 2009


(Picture of PV arrays ontop the Physics Building at SDSU)

Much research is taking place in the area of photovoltaics. The current rating system rates the panels at 1000W/m2 solar radiation, and a cell temperature of 25◦C, two con- ditions rarely, if ever, met. The output of solar cells changes substantially as conditions change. There is research is taking place to try to quantify how these solar cells behave under different conditions. Many of these studies use single panels that are not actually being used to generate electricity. When solar panels are used to generate power, many panels are wired in series and in parallel in order to obtain the proper output voltage. To maximize power output, the power inverters also adjust the output such that the power is maximized. An array of panels operating at maximum power point may be affected by changing conditions differently than a single panel, or a single cell, and is more appropriate to how panels are being operated by users.

I hope for this research to add to the book of knowledge of silicon based solar cells. Specifically I would like to be able to characterize the way different photovoltaic arrays perform under varying external conditions (weather).  Specifically I would like to model the power output of grid connected silicon arrays. To this end, the array temperature and total solar radiation incident on the panels will be measured.