What is the anticipated output of a photovoltaic module mounted on a south-facing roof at an incline of 30 degrees? What temperatures do modules reach when they are mounted on a flat roof or a facade? How much energy is produced by a transparent or opaque prefabricated facade component with an integrated photovoltaic module? What are the additional benefits of connecting a photovoltaic system to a storage device? What type of inverter should be used? How does a photovoltaic system affect the power grid? The open-air PV Integration Lab answers these very questions on behalf of manufacturers, architects, installers and vendors. It assesses under real-life conditions the electrical performance of both free-standing photovoltaic modules and systems as well as those integrated into architectural structures. It also tests photovoltaic systems with storage devices and monitors their impact on the power grid.
Rotating model roof for testing integrated photovoltaic systems
The lab boasts a model roof with a surface area of 20 square metres (5 x 4 m) which can be tilted by up to 60° and turned to face any direction. This allows the roof pitch and other parts of the building envelope to be realistically recreated.
The structure is connected to a monitoring system for measuring parameters such as electrical output, temperature, radiation effect and module efficiency in real time.
Facades for testing integrated photovoltaic systems
The lab uses a model facade (4 x 6 m) to test under real-life conditions the efficiency of photovoltaic modules integrated in solar-active facades. To ensure that the model is as realistic as possible, the test facade is also able to easily support heavy facade components in all weather conditions. The structure is divided into six modules each measuring 2 x 2 m, enabling more than one component to be tested at the same time.
The test facade is also able to perform measurements on complex systems, such as those in which photovoltaic installations, electricity storage modules and control systems all interact.
The infrastructure also features a climate box for adapting the temperature inside each facade component to common room temperatures.
The lab includes a standard photovoltaic system connected to a storage and charging device for testing innovative energy storage solutions. Storage systems are very important, as they hold the key to creating the ideal ratio between the energy generated and consumed by a building.
Turning knowledge into commercial success
From prototype development, testing and simulations to product enhancements and the market launch of finished products, lab tests are an important part of the long-term collaboration between research and industry.
By working with the researchers at Eurac Research, companies benefit from proven expertise in the quality assessment and reliability testing of photovoltaic modules, the research of solar energy and the integration of photovoltaics in buildings and power grids. Eurac Research has acquired its in-depth knowledge from its links with international research networks and has already put it to good use during a range of projects with local businesses.
For more information, please contact David Moser.