Facility for the integration of photovoltaic systems in buildings and grids
What is the yield of a thin-film photovoltaic module placed on a roof which faces south and is inclined 30°? What temperature does a module attached to a flat roof or façade reach? How much energy does a prefabricated façade system produce which integrates transparent or opaque photovoltaic modules? What added value is there for accumulation systems combined with PV systems? Which type of inverter should be used? What impact do photovoltaics have on electricity networks? The PV Integration Lab is an outdoor infrastructure capable of providing producers, designers, installers and dealers with the answers to these questions. The laboratory characterises in real conditions the electrical performance of photovoltaic modules and systems both in the open field and integrated within architectural structures. It tests systems connected to storage systems and verifies the impact on electricity networks.
Rotating cover for tests on photovoltaics integrated into the architecture
The laboratory has a real cover model, positioned outdoors and measuring 20 square metres (5 x 4 metres), that is able to tilt up to 60° from the horizontal plane and to orient in any direction to reproduce the pitch of a roof or any type of cover. The rotating cover is connected to a monitoring system that records electrical and environmental parameters (such as yield, radiation, temperature) and thus the efficiency of any type of module.
Façade for tests on photovoltaic modules integrated into architecture
A façade model (4 x 6 metres) allows the yield of photovoltaic modules integrated into systems of active solar façades to be tested in real conditions. To better recreate the actual conditions of a building, the façade was structurally designed to also support heavy façades, in any weather condition. The structure is divided into six 2 x 2 metre modules to simultaneously accommodate various blocks of façade. The monitoring system was also designed to test complex façade systems that integrate for example photovoltaic systems, as well as electrical storage and control systems. The infrastructure is also equipped with a thermal box that keeps the inside of the solar façade active at temperatures typical of interiors of residential buildings.
Photovoltaic storage systems and inverters
A standard photovoltaic system connected to a system of electric accumulations and electronic loads allows innovative storage systems to be tested. Accumulation systems are the key to optimising the ratio between energy produced locally and energy consumed, especially in buildings. Furthermore, to minimise the losses of a system it is essential to use suitably-sized inverters. These must be able to convert the electricity generated from DC to AC with a high efficiency level and to push photovoltaic modules to work at their maximum power point. These requirements are tested with a dedicated setup that performs tests according to the IEC 50530 standard.
Company service expertise
Laboratory tests can become part of a broader collaboration between research and business that starts with the design of a prototype and ends with the creation of a product ready for the market, including simulation phases, specific tests and optimisation. Collaborating with Eurac Research researchers means the assurance of consolidated know-how developed in international networks and applied in numerous projects with local companies that focus on quality and reliability of modules, the study of the solar resource and the integration of photovoltaics within buildings and networks.
For more information, please contact David Moser.
PV Integration Lab has been financed by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol