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Sensors 2018, 18(10), 3405; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18103405

An On-Line Low-Cost Irradiance Monitoring Network with Sub-Second Sampling Adapted to Small-Scale PV Systems

Research Group PAIDI-TIC-168: Computational Instrumentation and Industrial Electronics (ICEI), University of Cádiz, EPSA, Av. Ramón Puyol S/N, Algeciras, 11202 Cádiz, Spain
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Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
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Abstract

Very short-term solar forecasts are gaining interest for their application on real-time control of photovoltaic systems. These forecasts are intimately related to the cloud motion that produce variations of the irradiance field on scales of seconds and meters, thus particularly impacting in small photovoltaic systems. Very short-term forecast models must be supported by updated information of the local irradiance field, and solar sensor networks are positioning as the more direct way to obtain these data. The development of solar sensor networks adapted to small-scale systems as microgrids is subject to specific requirements: high updating frequency, high density of measurement points and low investment. This paper proposes a wireless sensor network able to provide snapshots of the irradiance field with an updating frequency of 2 Hz. The network comprised 16 motes regularly distributed over an area of 15 m × 15 m (4 motes × 4 motes, minimum intersensor distance of 5 m). The irradiance values were estimated from illuminance measurements acquired by lux-meters in the network motes. The estimated irradiances were validated with measurements of a secondary standard pyranometer obtaining a mean absolute error of 24.4 W/m 2 and a standard deviation of 36.1 W/m 2 . The network was able to capture the cloud motion and the main features of the irradiance field even with the reduced dimensions of the monitoring area. These results and the low-cost of the measurement devices indicate that this concept of solar sensor networks would be appropriate not only for photovoltaic plants in the range of MW, but also for smaller systems such as the ones installed in microgrids. View Full-Text
Keywords: irradiance monitoring network; wireless sensor network; very short-term solar forecasting; microgrids; pyranometer; lux-meter; cloud enhancement irradiance monitoring network; wireless sensor network; very short-term solar forecasting; microgrids; pyranometer; lux-meter; cloud enhancement
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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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Espinosa-Gavira, M.J.; Agüera-Pérez, A.; González de la Rosa, J.J.; Palomares-Salas, J.C.; Sierra-Fernández, J.M. An On-Line Low-Cost Irradiance Monitoring Network with Sub-Second Sampling Adapted to Small-Scale PV Systems. Sensors 2018, 18, 3405.

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