Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Rickie Dodge - College of Menominee Nation
Co-Author(s): Lisa Bosman and Travis Spice, College of Menominee Nation
Hypothesis Statement and Why the Research is Important: The purpose of the study is to investigate how seasonal affects impact solar energy generation. The existence of soil, debri, and shade, varies by season, and can greatly impact the ability for solar energy systems to receive incoming solar irradiance and thus, produce solar electricity. This research is important for accurately estimating roof mounted solar electricity over time.
Methods and Controls: This research utilizes data from two different solar energy data sources, including the College of Menominee Nation Solar Energy Research Institute (Keshena, WI) and Argonne National Laboratory’s Midwest Photovoltaic Analysis Facility. Performance comparisons are made from 5 different types of solar energy technology, including Monocrystalline Silicon, Polycrystalline Silicon, Amorphous Silicon, Cadmium Telluride, and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, and two different types of inverter systems, including micro-inverter and string inverters. Both sites include weather and climate data, such as incoming solar irradiation, temperature, and wind speed.
Results: The initial data analysis found large discrepancies in seasonal generation when comparing the actual versus predicted solar energy generation based on incoming solar irradiance and module temperature. The data clearly shows that during the winter months, the actual power generation is substantially different from the predicted values generated by the theoretically derived formula.
Conclusions and Future Research: In conclusion, the research suggests that solar energy generation models, such as PV Watts, should consider the seasonal implications of snow and debri, to more accurately predict future solar electricity generation. Furthermore, this exploratory research provides motivation for the development of a system to prevent or remove snow and debri buildup. Using the Framework for Engineering Innovation and Exploitation, a student engineering design team has come up with two solutions to prevent snow and debri buildup on the solar panels. These solutions include a manual pulley system and a hot air system, both of which will be explained in detail on the poster.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF-TCUP and NASA-ESTEEM
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Bosman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Data analysis