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Energies 2016, 9(5), 342; doi:10.3390/en9050342

Performance Analysis of a Grid-Connected Upgraded Metallurgical Grade Silicon Photovoltaic System

1
Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
2
Centre for Systems Informatics Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
3
School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080-3021, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tapas Mallick
Received: 2 March 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2016 / Accepted: 27 April 2016 / Published: 5 May 2016
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Abstract

Because of their low cost, photovoltaic (PV) cells made from upgraded metallurgical grade silicon (UMG-Si) are a promising alternative to conventional solar grade silicon-based PV cells. This study investigates the outdoor performance of a 1.26 kW grid-connected UMG-Si PV system over five years, reporting the energy yields and performance ratio and estimating the long-term performance degradation rate. To make this investigation more meaningful, the performance of a mono-Si PV system installed at the same place and studied during the same period of time is presented for reference. Furthermore, this study systematizes and rationalizes the necessity of a data selection and filtering process to improve the accuracy of degradation rate estimation. The impact of plane-of-array irradiation threshold for data filtering on performance ratio and degradation rate is also studied. The UMG-Si PV system’s monthly performance ratio after data filtering ranged from 84% to 93% over the observation period. The annual degradation rate was 0.44% derived from time series of monthly performance ratio using the classical decomposition method. A comparison of performance ratio and degradation rate to conventional crystalline silicon-based PV systems suggests that performance of the UMG-Si PV system is comparable to that of conventional systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaic; upgraded metallurgical grade silicon; data filtering; performance ratio; degradation rate photovoltaic; upgraded metallurgical grade silicon; data filtering; performance ratio; degradation rate
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Huang, C.; Edesess, M.; Bensoussan, A.; Tsui, K.L. Performance Analysis of a Grid-Connected Upgraded Metallurgical Grade Silicon Photovoltaic System. Energies 2016, 9, 342.

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