Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1303.4604 (Sourabh Dongaonkar et al.)

Geometrical design of thin film PV modules for improved shade tolerance
and performance

Sourabh Dongaonkar, Muhammad A. Alam
Partial shading in photovoltaic modules is an important reliability and performance concern for all photovoltaic technologies. In this paper, we show how cell geometry can be used as a design variable for improved performance and resilience towards partial shading in monolithic thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) modules. We use circuit simulations to illustrate the geometrical aspects of partial shading in typical TFPV modules with rectangular cells, and formulate rules for shade tolerant design. We show that the problem of partial shading can be overcome by modifying the cell shape and orientation, while preserving the module shape and output characteristics. We discuss two geometrical designs with cells arranged in radial and spiral patterns, which (a) prevent the reverse breakdown of partially shaded cells, (b) improve the overall power output under partial shading, and (c) in case of spiral design, improve the module efficiency by reducing sheet resistance losses. We compare these designs quantitatively using realistic parameters, and discuss the practical approaches to their implementation.
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