Validation of Bifacial Photovoltaic Simulation Software against Monitoring Data from Large-Scale Single-Axis Trackers and Fixed Tilt Systems in Denmark

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Abstract

The size and number of utility-scale bifacial photovoltaic (PV) installations has proliferated in recent years but concerns over modeling accuracy remain. The aim of this work is to provide the PV community with a validation study of eight tools used to simulate bifacial PV performance. We simulate real 26 kilowatt-peak (kWp) bifacial arrays within a 420-kWp site located in northern Europe (55.6° N, 12.1° E). The substructures investigated include horizontal single-axis trackers (HSATs) and fixed tilt racks that have dimensions analogous to those found in utility-scale PV installations. Each bifacial system has a monofacial reference system with similar front side power. We use on-site solar radiation (global, diffuse, and beam) and albedo measurements from spectrally flat class A sensors as inputs to the simulation tools, and compare the modeled values to field measurements of string level power, rear and front plane of array irradiance, and module temperature. Our results show that state-of-the-art bifacial performance models add ~0.5% uncertainty to the PV modeling chain. For the site investigated, 2-D view factor fixed tilt simulations are within ±1% of the measured monthly bifacial gain. However, simulations of single-axis tracker systems are less accurate, wherein 2-D view factor and 3-D ray tracing are within approximately 2% and 1% of the measured bifacial gain, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8487
JournalApplied Sciences
Volume10
Issue number23
Number of pages29
ISSN2076-3417
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Bifacial PV
  • PV performance
  • Model validation
  • Bifacial gain
  • Single‐axis trackers

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