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

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Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
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Centre for Systems Informatics Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
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School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080-3021, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tapas Mallick
Energies 2016, 9(5), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/en9050342
Received: 2 March 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2016 / Accepted: 27 April 2016 / Published: 5 May 2016
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
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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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