Paper Conference

Proceedings of Building Simulation 2017: 15th Conference of IBPSA


Co-optimization of Solar Tracking for Shading and Photovoltaic Energy Conversion

Forrest Meggers1,2, Dorit Aviv1, Victor Charpentier3, Eric Teitelbaum3, Adam Ainslie1, Sigrid Adriaenssens1,3
1Princeton University, School of Architecture, Princeton, NJ, USA
2Princeton University, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton, NJ, USA
3Princeton University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton, NJ, USA

Abstract: We investigate the geometric co-optimization of shading and solar photovoltaic tracking with a single surface. The simulation combines ideal solar tracking with a unique method for continuous shading of a fixed surface area through all sun angles. For photovoltaics, a panel achieves maximum power production by maintaining a normal orientation to the sun vector. This is achieved by tracking the 2-axis solar motion. Shading is also increased with standard tracking, but the area shaded is not effectively controlled by normal tracking alone. By rotating the panel along a path in space that maps the arc the sun makes across the sky, it is possible to also provide constant shading to a fixed position at the centroid of the arc while simultaneously maintaining a normal orientation to solar rays. The simulations were made as part of the development of a solar photovoltaic powered outdoor work table with a continuously shaded work surface. The results show the ability to maintain continuous shading, and to double the potential PV generation as compared to a fixed panel. We built a prototype that achieved this operation, and in that process used a curved panel, which has led to further simulation of curved PV surfaces. This analysis demonstrates the potential leveling of the power curve. Although it decreases total energy produced per area of panel, we show curved surfaces can significantly increase the power per unit area of panel footprint.
Pages: 2224 - 2231