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Special Issue "Solar Energy Systems and Materials"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Mark Deinert (Website)

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Phone: 206-300-4147
Fax: +1 512 471 1045
Interests: energy economics; systems analysis; complex systems; nuclear power; non proliferation; renewable energy; energy policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Large scale deployment of solar power systems has historically been hindered by their cost relative to competing technologies.  However, concerns over global warming, and the accessibility of energy resources, has prompted many to reconsider the contribution that solar can realistically make, particularly when energy storage systems storage systems are used to increase dispatchability. This special issue is intended to solicit high quality, original research contributions on all aspects of solar power technologies and systems, including but not limited to: advances in materials for photovoltaic systems, concentrating solar power systems and technologies, dye sensitized solar cells, solar power systems analysis, passive solar systems, operational performance of large and small scale solar systems in developed and developing countries, and storage technologies.

Dr. Mark Deinert
Guest Editor

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Analytical Modeling of Partially Shaded Photovoltaic Systems
Energies 2013, 6(1), 128-144; doi:10.3390/en6010128
Received: 7 November 2012 / Revised: 14 December 2012 / Accepted: 19 December 2012 / Published: 4 January 2013
Cited by 40 | PDF Full-text (1969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As of today, the considerable influence of select environmental variables, especially irradiance intensity, must still be accounted for whenever discussing the performance of a solar system. Therefore, an extensive, dependable modeling method is required in investigating the most suitable Maximum Power Point [...] Read more.
As of today, the considerable influence of select environmental variables, especially irradiance intensity, must still be accounted for whenever discussing the performance of a solar system. Therefore, an extensive, dependable modeling method is required in investigating the most suitable Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) method under different conditions. Following these requirements, MATLAB-programmed modeling and simulation of photovoltaic systems is presented here, by focusing on the effects of partial shading on the output of the photovoltaic (PV) systems. End results prove the reliability of the proposed model in replicating the aforementioned output characteristics in the prescribed setting. The proposed model is chosen because it can, conveniently, simulate the behavior of different ranges of PV systems from a single PV module through the multidimensional PV structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle Variable DC-Link Voltage Algorithm with a Wide Range of Maximum Power Point Tracking for a Two-String PV System
Energies 2013, 6(1), 58-78; doi:10.3390/en6010058
Received: 24 October 2012 / Revised: 21 November 2012 / Accepted: 25 December 2012 / Published: 2 January 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (2148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes a variable DC-link reference voltage algorithm for wide range of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for two-string photovoltaic (PV) systems. A multi-string system, which is a kind of PV system, is widely used due to its many merits (such [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a variable DC-link reference voltage algorithm for wide range of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for two-string photovoltaic (PV) systems. A multi-string system, which is a kind of PV system, is widely used due to its many merits (such as the ability to use low rating devices, high MPPT efficiency, and so forth). PV systems can choose their input voltages on the basis of their PV cell connection structure. The PV cell connection structure can be restricted because the input voltage and current affect the PV system design. This reduces the MPPT range under some weather conditions. In the restricted PV connection structure, this algorithm enlarges the MPPT range and minimizes the increment of the total harmonic distortion (THD) by selecting the appropriate DC-link voltage reference which is changed by comparing the sorted input voltage. To verify the proposed algorithm, simulation and experiments are conducted to show the results of the performance for the proposed algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle Second-Order Harmonic Reduction Technique for Photovoltaic Power Conditioning Systems Using a Proportional-Resonant Controller
Energies 2013, 6(1), 79-96; doi:10.3390/en6010079
Received: 17 November 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 2 January 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes a second-order harmonic reduction technique using a proportional-resonant (PR) controller for a photovoltaic (PV) power conditioning system (PCS). In a grid-connected single-phase system, inverters create a second-order harmonic at twice the fundamental frequency. A ripple component unsettles the operating [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a second-order harmonic reduction technique using a proportional-resonant (PR) controller for a photovoltaic (PV) power conditioning system (PCS). In a grid-connected single-phase system, inverters create a second-order harmonic at twice the fundamental frequency. A ripple component unsettles the operating points of the PV array and deteriorates the operation of the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technique. The second-order harmonic component in PV PCS is analyzed using an equivalent circuit of the DC/DC converter and the DC/AC inverter. A new feed-forward compensation technique using a PR controller for ripple reduction is proposed. The proposed algorithm is advantageous in that additional devices are not required and complex calculations are unnecessary. Therefore, this method is cost-effective and simple to implement. The proposed feed-forward compensation technique is verified by simulation and experimental results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle Analytical Investigation and Control System Set-up of Medium Scale PV Plants for Power Flow Management
Energies 2012, 5(11), 4399-4416; doi:10.3390/en5114399
Received: 17 September 2012 / Revised: 26 October 2012 / Accepted: 29 October 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1621 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the field of photovoltaic (PV) plants and energy conversion from renewable sources, a large part of the technical literature is more devoted to practical aspects (new solar cells, electrically driven PV panels, safety, reduction of parasitic currents, etc.) than to theoretical [...] Read more.
In the field of photovoltaic (PV) plants and energy conversion from renewable sources, a large part of the technical literature is more devoted to practical aspects (new solar cells, electrically driven PV panels, safety, reduction of parasitic currents, etc.) than to theoretical investigations. Despite this tendency, this paper presents a mathematical analysis of a medium scale photovoltaic power generation system connected to the distribution network and of its control system. In such a system, the conversion stage is unique due to the absence of a boost chopper. The conducted analysis leads to the interesting conclusion that the inverter used in the plant presents two degrees of freedom, easy to exploit in a control system in which the inverter simultaneously realizes the interconnection to the grid and the MPPT control. The structure of the control system is then presented, discussed and validated by means of numerical simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle A Two-Dimensional Numerical Study of Hydrodynamic, Heat and Mass Transfer and Stability in a Salt Gradient Solar Pond
Energies 2012, 5(10), 3986-4007; doi:10.3390/en5103986
Received: 24 May 2012 / Revised: 25 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (7555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, the problem of hydrodynamic, heat and mass transfer and stability in a salt gradient solar pond has been numerically studied by means of computational fluid dynamics in transient regime. The body of the simulated pond is an enclosure of [...] Read more.
In this work, the problem of hydrodynamic, heat and mass transfer and stability in a salt gradient solar pond has been numerically studied by means of computational fluid dynamics in transient regime. The body of the simulated pond is an enclosure of height H and length L wherein an artificial salinity gradient is created in order to suppress convective motions induced by solar radiation absorption and to stabilize the solar pond during the period of operation. Here we show the distribution of velocity, temperature and salt concentration fields during energy collection and storage in a solar pond filled with water and constituted by three different salinity zones. The bottom of the pond is blackened and the free-surface is subjected to heat losses by convection, evaporation and radiation while the vertical walls are adiabatic and impermeable. The governing equations of continuity, momentum, thermal energy and mass transfer are discretized by finite–volume method in transient regime. Velocity vector fields show the presence of thin convective cells in the upper convective zone (UCZ) and large convective cells in the lower convective zone (LCZ). This study shows the importance of buoyancy ratio in the decrease of temperature in the UCZ and in the preservation of high temperature in the LCZ. It shows also the importance of the thickness of Non-Convective Zone (NCZ) in the reduction of the upwards heat losses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle MPPT for Photovoltaic Modules via Newton-Like Extremum Seeking Control
Energies 2012, 5(8), 2652-2666; doi:10.3390/en5082652
Received: 30 May 2012 / Revised: 12 July 2012 / Accepted: 18 July 2012 / Published: 25 July 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper adapts the Newton-like Extremum-Seeking Control technique to extract the maximum power from photovoltaic panels. This technique uses the gradient and Hessian of the panel characteristic in order to approximate the operating point to its optimum. The paper describes in detail [...] Read more.
The paper adapts the Newton-like Extremum-Seeking Control technique to extract the maximum power from photovoltaic panels. This technique uses the gradient and Hessian of the panel characteristic in order to approximate the operating point to its optimum. The paper describes in detail the gradient and Hessian estimations carried out by means of sinusoidal dithering signals. Furthermore, we compare the proposed technique with the common Extremum Seeking Control that only uses the gradient. The comparison is done by means of PSIM simulations and it shows the different transient behaviors and the faster response of the Newton-like Extremum-Seeking Control solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle Modeling of Step-up Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems for Control Purposes
Energies 2012, 5(6), 1900-1926; doi:10.3390/en5061900
Received: 27 February 2012 / Revised: 16 May 2012 / Accepted: 1 June 2012 / Published: 18 June 2012
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (3562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents modeling approaches for step-up grid-connected photovoltaic systems intended to provide analytical tools for control design. The first approach is based on a voltage source representation of the bulk capacitor interacting with the grid-connected inverter, which is a common model [...] Read more.
This paper presents modeling approaches for step-up grid-connected photovoltaic systems intended to provide analytical tools for control design. The first approach is based on a voltage source representation of the bulk capacitor interacting with the grid-connected inverter, which is a common model for large DC buses and closed-loop inverters. The second approach considers the inverter of a double-stage PV system as a Norton equivalent, which is widely accepted for open-loop inverters. In addition, the paper considers both ideal and realistic models for the DC/DC converter that interacts with the PV module, providing four mathematical models to cover a wide range of applications. The models are expressed in state space representation to simplify its use in analysis and control design, and also to be easily implemented in simulation software, e.g., Matlab. The PV system was analyzed to demonstrate the non-minimum phase condition for all the models, which is an important aspect to select the control technique. Moreover, the system observability and controllability were studied to define design criteria. Finally, the analytical results are illustrated by means of detailed simulations, and the paper results are validated in an experimental test bench. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)
Open AccessArticle On the Evaluation of Solar Greenhouse Efficiency in Building Simulation during the Heating Period
Energies 2012, 5(6), 1864-1880; doi:10.3390/en5061864
Received: 15 May 2012 / Revised: 4 June 2012 / Accepted: 8 June 2012 / Published: 15 June 2012
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among solar passive systems integrated in buildings, sunspaces or solar greenhouses represent a very interesting solution. A sunspace is a closed, southbound volume, constituted by transparent surfaces, adjacent to a building, which reduces winter energy demand thanks to the use of solar [...] Read more.
Among solar passive systems integrated in buildings, sunspaces or solar greenhouses represent a very interesting solution. A sunspace is a closed, southbound volume, constituted by transparent surfaces, adjacent to a building, which reduces winter energy demand thanks to the use of solar gains. The effect of a typical solar greenhouse on the energy balance of a building was evaluated during the heating period with two stationary procedures (Method 5000 and EN ISO 13790) and with a dynamic tool (TRNSYS). After the analysis of the greenhouse alone, the behavior of an entire house was simulated; a flat equipped with a sunspace, recently built thanks to public contributions provided by the Umbria Region in Italy to widespread bio-climatic architecture, was used as case-study. Simulations were carried out for the examined flat, both with a steady-state tool and with a dynamic one; the contribution of the sunspace was estimated thanks to the various methods previously mentioned. Finally, the simulated data were satisfactorily compared with the real energy consumptions (natural gas for heating) of the flat; the sunspace allows a reduction of winter energy demand of the flat of about 20%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Systems and Materials)

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