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Solar Systems Laboratory: Solar Tech Lab

Referent: Leva Sonia

The Solar Tech laboratory is located on the roof of the Department of Energy in Bovisa. The activity of the laboratory completes studies and modeling work on small scale solar systems performed at the Department of Energy since 2005. The general target is the testing of solar energy conversion systems under real conditions.
This target can be divided into five main categories:
(i) Measurements of commercial PV panels, thermal panels and concentrated PV under real working conditions in order to determine actual performances and decays; the performance of each panel will be measured and compared to the expected production in order to determine the efficiency and incidental degradation phenomena. Different PV technologies are installed with the aim of comparing their performances.
(ii) Comparison of PV balance of the systems as inverter, tracker. The analysis of new smart inverters able to optimize the energy produced by the PV-array in real condition, to exchange data with remote monitoring systems and to adapt their self to the grid is one of the major task of the laboratory. The performance analysis of different types of tracker together with the different possible applications (thermal, PV,C-PV, ..) will be measured and analyzed.
(iii) Validation of forecasting models; a robust modeling for predicting and optimizing the system production is critical to increase the interaction of PV systems with smart electricity grids and to optimize energy use, delivery and storage. Forecasting model for the PV production will be analyzed and validated through Solar Tech laboratory measured data, in order to assess forecast applicability to perform and optimize energy injection/trading flows.
(iv) Investigation on alternative concepts related to energy production systems in close proximity to the energy users integrated into isolated grids with storage capabilities. A small scale of stand-alone systems will be set-up with the aim to develop optimized procedures and storage strategies for different user-profiles looking for a higher energy efficiency and facilitating the integration of storage devices and renewable sources.
(v) System optimization, component improvement and prototypes testing. The final task of the laboratory is the application of theoretical models to improve actual technologies and develop prototypes. An example of prototypes developed is a hybrid CPV. The objective is to make the system reliable, predictable, more efficient and competitive from economic point of view.

The facility has a meteorological station which provides information about ambient temperature, wind speed, solar radiation divided in direct normal radiation, total radiation on a flat surface and diffuse radiation.
The facility consists of different areas reflecting the objectives of the laboratory. There is an area for commercial panels, an area to determine the PV performances as function of incidence angle and/or shading, one area for PV modules with tracking and one area for hybrid PV and thermal panels.
Currently there are more than 20 panels installed.

Department of Energy
Campus Bovisa

Sonia Leva Giampaolo Manzolini

More info:
Sito Laboratorio