Technical Brief

High-Speed Monitoring of Multiple Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Array Configurations and Supplementary Weather Station

[+] Author and Article Information
Matthew T. Boyd

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8632,
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
e-mail: matthew.boyd@nist.gov

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received October 26, 2016; final manuscript received December 19, 2016; published online March 21, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Geoffrey T. Klise.This material is declared a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 139(3), 034502 (Mar 21, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: SOL-16-1458; doi: 10.1115/1.4035830 History: Received October 26, 2016; Revised December 19, 2016

Three grid-connected monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic arrays have been instrumented with research-grade sensors on the Gaithersburg, MD campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These arrays range from 73 kW to 271 kW and have different tilts, orientations, and configurations. Irradiance, temperature, wind, and electrical measurements at the arrays are recorded, and images are taken of the arrays to monitor shading and capture any anomalies. A weather station has also been constructed that includes research-grade instrumentation to measure all standard meteorological quantities plus additional solar irradiance spectral bands, full spectrum curves, and directional components using multiple irradiance sensor technologies. Reference photovoltaic (PV) modules are also monitored to provide comprehensive baseline measurements for the PV arrays. Images of the whole sky are captured, along with images of the instrumentation and reference modules to document any obstructions or anomalies. Nearly, all measurements at the arrays and weather station are sampled and saved every 1 s, with monitoring having started on Aug. 1, 2014. This report describes the instrumentation approach used to monitor the performance of these photovoltaic systems, measure the meteorological quantities, and acquire the images for use in PV performance and weather monitoring and computer model validation.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

The weather station

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Fig. 7

The output circuit power as a percent of the standard test conditions (STC) ratings and the efficiencies of the seven source circuits in the ground array during a time of partial snow coverage and later melting

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Fig. 6

An image taken by the camera at the ground array showing a time of partial snow coverage

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Fig. 5

The inverter DC combiner compartment at the ground array with the installed DC measurement components, showing three of the seven current shunts, and, left-to-right on the upper DIN rail: the ambient temperature sensor, shunt remote terminal unit (RTU), analog transmitter, voltage divider, and fuse holder for the DC busbar voltage taps

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

The canopy array weather instruments at the north end of the center canopy, showing the irradiance sensors and mounts as well as the ambient temperature sensor, wind sensor, and wind sensor surge protector

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Fig. 9

The stationary radiometers installed at the weather station, with the ambient temperature sensor also shown in the upper right

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Fig. 10

An image taken by the all sky camera



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