The increasing amount and size of PV parks makes monitoring their performance and predicting their output important topics. Power output reduction can be caused by soiling, i.e. the accumulation of dust particles or by module degradation over lifetime of the modules.
To monitor the performance of PV parks it is important to identify and replace defect modules. Infrared (IR) thermography is a widely used method for this purpose. IR-cameras are used to identify so-called hotspots, i.e. regions within a module or string with elevated temperatures. Hotspots can also be caused by inhomogeneous soiling in which case the modules do not need to be exchanged.
False identification can be expensive for the operator and should be avoided. On the other hand, manually controlling all modules with identified hotspot regarding their soiling level is also costly, both in terms of time and financially.
Currently, the team in the group of Solar Energy Meteorology at the institute for Solar Research is developing a method to optically measure the soiling losses with cell resolution. The optical information can be converted into an electric power loss. It is desired to expand this soiling measurement by a thermal model that predicts the temperature of each cell. Combining soiling and IR measurements enable an automatic distinction between defect hotspots and soiling hotspots.
False identification will be avoided.
Your task within the proposed Master thesis will be to refine the thermal model of PV modules on a cell level. You will investigate the influence of various meteorological parameters, in particular wind speed and direction, ambient temperature and solar irradiance. The model will be validated at a PV testbench at CIEMAT’s plataforma solar de Almería (PSA) as well as a small power plant.
You will be closely integrated into our diverse and highly motivated team in the “Solar Energy Meteorology group” located in Almería (Spain). An experienced colleague will closely work together with you and support you throughout the entire work. The project will be aligned with the responsible professor of your university.