Technical Brief

Comparison of Solar Tracking and Fixed-Tilt Photovoltaic Modules in Lodz

[+] Author and Article Information
Paulina Sawicka-Chudy

Department of Biophysics,
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences,
University of Rzeszow,
1 Pigonia Street,
Rzeszow 35-317, Poland
e-mail: sawicka61@wp.pl

Maciej Sibiński

Department of Semiconductor and Optoelectronics,
Lodz University of Technology,
211/215 Wólczańska Street,
Lodz 90-924, Poland

Marian Cholewa

Department of Biophysics,
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences,
University of Rzeszow,
1 Pigonia Street,
Rzeszow 35-317, Poland

Ryszard Pawełek

Institute of Electrical Power Engineering,
Lodz University of Technology,
18/22 Stefanowskiego Street,
Lodz 90-924, Poland

1Corresponding author.

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 January 31, 2017; final manuscript received January 16, 2018; published online February 20, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Geoffrey T. Klise.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 140(2), 024503 (Feb 20, 2018) (6 pages) Paper No: SOL-17-1044; doi: 10.1115/1.4039097 History: Received January 31, 2017; Revised January 16, 2018

The world energy consumption has exhibited high growth over the last several decades. Alternative energy sources like photovoltaic (PV) systems generate electricity, reduce pollution air, and have little environmental impact. The commonly used fixed-tilt solar panels, however, have low efficiency and high production cost. Thus, it takes a long time to obtain a return on the investment. Solar trackers increase the efficiency of PV systems and are therefore more attractive from a financial point of view. In order to design tracking systems that will be efficient, it is necessary to analyze the results during various periods during the year and over their lifespan. Thus, we performed a comparative study between fixed-tilt panels and the tracking system installed in Lodz, Poland. Fixed-tilt panels are at normal to the Earth's surface (90 deg from horizontal plane) and are attached to a building façade, azimuth 180 deg (S direction) with 15 cm ventilation gap so slight efficiency drop may be presumed. We performed short- and long-term analyses of the solar tracking and fixed-tilt systems, which allowed us to conclude that the panels tracking the sun had an additional gain of energy during the year as compared to the fixed-tilt panels. During some months, however, the solar tracking system did not produce as much energy as the fixed-tilt, vertically positioned panels. These results might be useful in designing and constructing solar tracking PV systems.

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Fig. 1

Fixed-tilt panels (a) and tracking system panels (b)

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of installation of the fixed-tilt and tracking system panels

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Fig. 3

(a) Power generated as the function of time on a cloudy day and (b) power generated as the function of time on a sunny day

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Fig. 4

(a) Hourly electrical energy produced by the two systems for cloudy conditions and (b) hourly electrical energy produced by the two systems for clear sky conditions

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Fig. 5

Cumulative amount of daily electrical energy produced for cloudy (a) and clear and (b) sky conditions

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Fig. 6

(a) Calculated efficiency values of systems during a cloudy day and (b) calculated momentary efficiency values of systems on a sunny day

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Fig. 7

Calculated mean daily efficiency values of the solar tracking and fixed-tilt panels

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Fig. 8

Voltage comparison of fixed-tilt panels and tracking system

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Fig. 9

Current comparison of fixed-tilt panels and tracking system

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Fig. 10

Monthly energy generated in 2010, 2011, 2015

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Fig. 11

Energy generated by each system and the two systems combined in 2010, 2011, and 2015 and the increase in energy produced by the tracking system compared to fixed-tilt panels




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