A research team from the University of Córdoba has developed a method that increases the performance of photovoltaic solar power plants through a simple readjustment of the software that controls the movement of the panels. With a simple change of parameters, 1 to 2% more electricity can be obtained by avoiding shading.

A method with which the efficiency of photovoltaic installations is increased without investment. The technique affects the motion control system by readjusting the software configuration panels with which current solar energy production could be increased by almost 2%. This quantity assumes the consumption of more than 47,000 households in Spain in a year.

The method they propose deflects the direction of the panels from the solar position to avoid shading if necessary and achieve higher performance.

Using an equation, the experts made solar panels take better advantage of the light reaching them. This is detailed in the article “ A new take-back approach for two-axis photovoltaic solar power plants ” published in the magazine Renewable energy in which they demonstrate how the plates avoid shadows that prevent them from performing their function at certain times of the day by simply readjusting the movement orders they receive.

Currently, solar panels are moved by equations based on the astronomical motion of the sun. They face east in the morning and turn during the day until they turn west at dusk.

Mainly in the first and last hours of the day there are shadows between the panels which reduce their production, but with the new model that we are offering we are able to avoid shading, as the plates can follow different paths and do not be disturbed.

Rafael López, researcher at the University of Cordoba.

The work carried out by researchers is the first to modify the pattern of movements by applying a single equation. In this way, they manage to optimize solar monitoring, taking into account incidents that reduce energy capture in each specific plant. They offer with a single change in the software that manages the movement of the plates, without requiring any investment, the direct increase in the profitability of the factories.

More efficient photovoltaic installations.

Solar trackers are the systems used to determine the movement that the panels should follow. They are checked by engineers who check and adjust them according to weather and seasonal conditions. Its operation is similar in all power plants.

Experts are proposing a simple change in the configuration of these systems that includes the equation they propose to maximize performance, especially in dual axis panels, as they can be oriented both horizontally and vertically, achieving no any arrangement and, in this way, capturing the highest possible incidence of light. Even then, the model described in the article can be applied in the same way in one-axis systems with similar results.

The configuration of the system allows a direct increase in the profitability of the installations without requiring additional investments.

The methods currently used are based on astronomical monitoring which takes into account the angle formed between direct solar rays and the surface of the panels. They seek that the direct incidence of light, that which comes directly from the Sun, is the highest possible and they are configured so that this angle is maintained. But in cloudy weather, when the sun is not visible or when the PV modules shade each other, the direct radiation does not reach the plates and therefore the absorption is not maximum in the positions indicated by the aforementioned models.

To avoid this, the authors looked at the technique known as backtracking, which consists of deviating the direction of the panels from the solar position to avoid shading if necessary and obtain higher performance.

The model takes into account the geometry of the position of the sun and the earth, as well as that of solar plants, including in the study of other shapes of plates in addition to the conventional rectangular shapes. They also incorporate various distributions and topographic surfaces of solar fields into the work, which provides the necessary information for each specific plant.

In addition, the experts determined and compared the effects of different tracking modes also taking into account global radiation, which includes radiation from the sky scattered as it passes through the atmosphere, and not just direct radiation, typical of astronomical tracking. .

The study was funded by the Horizon 2020 framework program of the European Union, through the CLARA project, and the collaboration of the company Magtel Operations SL.

Via fundaciondescubre.es