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Energy 38 (2012) 305e314

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Energy
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Experimental investigation of the optimum photovoltaic panels’ tilt angle during


the summer period
John Kaldellis*, Dimitrios Zafirakis
Lab of Soft Energy Applications & Environmental Protection, TEI of Piraeus, P.O. Box 41046, Athens 12201, Greece

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The photovoltaic (PV) technology has made considerable progress during the recent years in both grid
Received 1 August 2011 connected and stand-alone applications, especially in areas of high local solar potential. In this context,
Received in revised form the interest recently demonstrated in the Greek region concerning PVs encourages the investigation of
27 November 2011
optimum operation conditions for such systems. At the same time, summer-only applications, being
Accepted 29 November 2011
rather common in Greece, require maximum exploitation of the local solar potential during the specific
Available online 23 December 2011
period of the year. For this purpose, an experimental study is currently carried out in the area of Athens,
in order to evaluate the performance of different PV panel tilt angles during the summer period.
Keywords:
Solar energy
According to the experimental results obtained, the angle of 15 (2.5 ) is designated as optimum for
Experimental measurements almost the entire summer period, while conclusions drawn are accordingly theoretically validated by
Greece means of established solar geometry equations.
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction that there are numerous remote consumers across the Greek region
[9,10] that cannot appreciate connection to a solid electricity grid,
Remarkable increase of installed capacity worldwide [1] and PV stand-alone applications gradually gain interest on the basis of
constantly decreasing costs [2] of the photovoltaic (PV) technology experience obtained by the operation of small to medium scale grid
have turned PV applications into one of the most interesting energy connected systems.
alternatives, especially in areas of high quality solar potential. In What should be noted is that a large share of these remote
this context, analogous interest is noted during the recent years in consumers concern summer use only (e.g. summer houses,
the Greek region as well [3,4], where the favorable local solar summer hotel units), while in many of these cases, extreme water
potential (annual solar energy at horizontal plane even exceeding needs (especially in semi arid areas of the Aegean islands) should
1650 kWh/m2 [5], Fig. 1) encourages operation of such systems. also be stressed. As a result, use of PV systems in such summer-only
Installed capacity of PVs in Greece (Fig. 2) exceeds 200 MW (end of applications (when the local available solar potential maximizes) is
2010) [6], i.e. almost four times the respective of the previous year thought to be an interesting solution that needs to be examined for
(55 MW), while at the same time a promising local PV industry the satisfaction of both electrification and irrigation needs [11e14].
seems to emerge (Fig. 3). At the same time, efficient operation of PV installations depends
Furthermore, considerable remuneration of energy produced by on many factors, among which is also the tilt angle of panels.
grid connected rooftop PV systems under a feed-in-tariff of 550 V/ Acknowledging the need to ensure maximization of energy
MWh [7] has attracted numerous applicants in the category of production during the summer months of the year for the appli-
<10 kWp (Fig. 4). At the same time, experience gained in the field cations previously discussed, a systematic effort is currently
[8] (7% of installed capacity corresponds to systems below 10 kWp undertaken to obtain the optimum summer tilt angle of a PV
and 17% to systems below 20 kWp) largely applies to the sector of installation located in the area of Athens, central Greece. For this
small scale stand-alone systems as well. Actually, owed to the fact purpose, conduction of experimental measurements during the
entire summer season is carried out in the specific study, so as to
designate the optimum panels’ tilt angle during the specific period
of the year.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ30 210 5381237; fax: þ30 210 5381467.
At this point, it should be noted that investigation on the
E-mail address: jkald@teipir.gr (J. Kaldellis). optimum panel installation angle started in the early 80’s. At that
URL: http://www.sealab.gr/ time, Felske [15] investigated the optimum tilt angle in relation to

0360-5442/$ e see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.energy.2011.11.058
306 J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314

Fig. 1. Wind and solar potential in the Greek territory (based on data from [5]).

the off-south angle, concluding that for a given azimuth angle, the tracking system. According to their results, the monthly optimum
optimum collector tilt should be expected at an angle between 3 tilt angle ranges between 13 in June and 61 in December. Based
and 10 less than the given location latitude. Furthermore, on experimental measurements as well, Gaglia et al. [19] reported
according to Tsalides and Thanailakis [16], the year-round optimum that the optimum PV tilt angle for the area of Athens (36 570 N)
tilt angle for the area of Athens (37 580 N) and for north-facing ranges between 23 and 33 . Finally, Mehleri et al. [20] presented
panels serving constant loads was determined at 57, which is a computational methodology for the determination of the
50% higher than the local latitude. Following, Balouktsis et al. [17] optimum tilt angle and the orientation of PV panels, based on solar
presented a similar calculation algorithm for the case of variable radiation measurements recorded at the National Technical
loads, estimating the optimum tilt angle of PV panels for the island University of Athens (37 580 N). Their conclusion was that the
of Kythnos (37 250 N) during the entire year. According to their optimum tilt angle for the entire year is 30 .
results, the optimum angle per month was found to vary from At the same time Koronakis [21] investigated the optimum angle
0 (June, July) to 60 (December), while the optimum PV tilt angle for PV panels operating in Athens for each month of the year,
for the entire year was 26 . designating that optimum summer angles range from 5 to 17.
Moreover, based on experimental measurements, Kacira et al. Similar were also the results of Benghanem [22] concerning
[18] investigated the optimum tilt angle of PV panels in Sanliurfa somewhat lower latitudes (angle of 12 for a latitude of 24.5 N),
Turkey (37 N), by using two PV panels, with the first one kept at while Skeiker [23] estimated optimum angles for the month of
a fixed tilt angle and the second one mounted on a two-axis solar

Time Evolution of PV Installed Capacity in Greece


220
Annual Capacity
200
Cumulative Capacity
180
Installed Capcity (MWp)

160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Year

Fig. 2. Recent progress of PV installations in Greece (based on data from [6]). Fig. 3. Characteristics of Greek PV manufacturers (based on data from [6]).
J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314 307

Short-Term Time Evolution of PV Rooftop Applications six panels each (Fig. 6), with each of the arrays being mounted on
(<10kW ) - Capacity of Applications & in Operation Systems a metal frame, properly designed so that the tilt angle can be
50000 adjusted from 0 to 90 , at a 5 step.
45000 Furthermore, the twelve panels of the installation are connected
In operation
40000
Applications
in six parallel strings of two. Six ammeters and voltmeters placed
35000 on the control panel of the installation (Fig. 6), are used to provide
30000 the necessary measurements of current and voltage from each of
25000 the strings. The orientation of the PV panels is fixed with the azi-
20000
muth angle set equal to zero, while their type is multi-crystalline
15000
(LA361-K51S-manufactured by Kyocera) with the respective tech-
10000
nical characteristics given in Table 1.
5000
Moreover, for the measurement of solar radiation, two pyran-
0
ometers of Li-Cor type are used. The first pyranometer measures
the global radiation on the horizontal plane and the second is
mounted on the PV base so that it can measure the global radiation
Fig. 4. Progress of PV rooftop installations in Greece (based on data from [6]). upon the PV surface, at the tilt angle each time selected (Fig. 6).
Finally, what should also be mentioned is that all measurements
taken are also collected in a data logger (STYLITIS-41) (see also
August in the order of 12.5 e17, for latitudes between 35 N and
Fig. 6) that is able to store data for up to 30 days through the use of
40 N.
a computer.
According to the above research results, the optimum angle of
PV panels varies considerably between different studies, mainly
due to the calculation models used and the atmospheric environ- 2.2. Description of the experimental procedure
ment of the location at which the experiment takes place. Besides
that, what may also be concluded is that emphasis is usually given The basic concept of the experimental procedure is to compare,
on the determination of the year-round optimum tilt angle. on a real time basis, the performance of four identical PV panels
Considering the above, an attempt is carried out in the present during the summer months of the year. The two of them (PV pair I)
study so as to determine the summer period optimum angle for PV are kept at a fixed tilt angle of 15 (which is according to the results
panels operating in the area of Athens. For this purpose, experi- of previous studies expected to be the optimum tilt angle during
mental investigation of the subject examined is currently under- the summer months for the specific area) and the other two are set
taken for the entire summer period. In this context, emphasis is to periodically vary their tilt angle (PV pair II).
given on examining the effect of varying the panel tilt angle from Measurements were taken every 10 min during daylight, while
the expected optimum one, while accordingly, an effort is made by the panel tilt angles examined correspond to 0 , 15 , 30 , 45 , 60
the authors so as to interpret results obtained through theoretical and 75 . Besides that, as already mentioned, measurements were
validation on the basis of established solar geometry equations. taken at the hot period of the year (from mid-May to mid-
September) with the above mentioned panel tilt angles being
2. Experimental setup and procedure of the experiment examined consecutively, for a 20-day period each (see also Table 2).
At the same time, the global solar irradiance at both the horizontal
2.1. Description of the experimental setup and the tilted plane, as well as the current and voltage output for
each of the PV pairs, were all recorded.
The PV configuration used for the experimental measurements After the collection of measurements for the time period of
is installed on the roof of the S.E.A.&ENVI.PRO. Laboratory, i.e. on study (e.g. totoþDt), performance of the two pairs of PV panels
the top of one of the buildings comprising the TEI of Piraeus investigated is based on the assessment of their energy yield. More
Campus [11]. The exact location is determined by the geographical specifically, the hourly energy output of each pair is calculated as
coordination of 37 580 N and 23 400 E and a high quality local solar [24]:
potential (see also Fig. 5). The installation consists of two PV arrays,
t ¼Zto þDt

EPV ¼ Ii ðtÞ,Ui ðtÞdt (1)


Long Term Monthly Average of Solar Potential at the t ¼ to
Horizontal Plane (Athens, 1990-2000)
250 where “Ii” is the current output and “Ui” is the output voltage of
each pair of PV panels.
Solar Energy at the Horizontal

200 However, to obtain a more straightforward comparison between


the performance of different tilt angles, estimation of the mean
Plane (kWh/m )
2

150 capacity factor “CFPV ” for the respective period of measurements is


also undertaken (see also Eq. (2))
100
EPV
CFPV ¼ (2)
Np ,Dt
50
with “Np” being the peak power of the PV panels (i.e. 51 Wp each
0 panel).
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Prior to the conduction of measurements however, to increase
Month of the Year
reliability of results obtained, statistical similarity of both the pyr-
Fig. 5. Solar potential of Athens based on long term solar irradiance measurements anometers and the pairs of PV panels used was examined through
(based on data from [11]). the application of the h-test method [25,26] (see also Appendix A).
308 J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314

Fig. 6. Aspects of the experimental setup.

Similarity of both pyranometers and PV pairs may be reflected from PV pair along with the respective 10 min distribution of solar
the measurements presented in Figs. 7 and 8 respectively, as well as radiation at the horizontal plane are included. In this context,
from the data of Table 3. On top of that, what should also be noted is current production “Ii” is as expected analogous to the distribution
that to avoid influence of factors such as dust [27,28], all four PV of solar radiation, while the effect of the panels’ tilt angle becomes
panels were kept clean from any external pollutant throughout the evident.
experimental period, thus ensuring similar performance which is In fact, by observing the results obtained, there is a minor
validated by the h-test. difference in the produced electrical current between the 15 (fixed
angle PV pair) and the 0 (variable angle PV pair) case, which is then
however found to increase considerably, up to the point of 60 . At
3. Experimental results
the same time, statistical similarity of the two PV pairs is also re-
flected from the results of the 15 e15 case, where difference of
Experimental results obtained appear first in Fig. 9, where one
current production is negligible. On the other hand, the increasing
presents representative daily performance comparisons between
trend of “Ii” difference noted between the fixed and the variable
the fixed and the variable PV panels’ tilt angles. More precisely, in
angle PV pair seems to fade out in the case of 15 e75 , with
Fig. 9 the 10 min average electrical current production “Ii” of each
measurements concerning the specific case taken in the period
between late August and mid-September.
Table 1 At this point it is important to note that the hour on the x-axis in
Technical characteristics of the PV panels employed. the respective set of figures is set at local standard time (LST) and
Parameter Value
Peak power 51.0 W Table 2
Voltage at maximum power 16.9 V Experimental measurements’ plan.
Current at maximum power 3.02 A
Open circuit voltage 21.2 V Variable angle PV pair Period of measurements
Short circuit current 3.25 A 0 15/5/10 to 3/6/10
Length 988 mm 15 4/6/10 to 23/6/10
Width 448 mm 30 24/6/10 to 13/7/10
Thickness 36 mm 45 14/7/10 to 2/8/10
Weight 5.9 kg 60 3/8/10 to 22/8/10
Maximum efficiency 14% 75 23/8/10 to 11/9/10
J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314 309

Comparison of the Fixed and Variable Angle Pyranometers Table 3


Parameters’ values of the h-test.
1400
PV pairs (both kept at 15 )
Pyranometer at Fixed Angle (W/m )

Pyranometers
2

1200
Parameter Value Parameter Value
1000
do (W/m2) 0 do (A) 0
800
x1 (W/m2) 479.01 x1 (A) 1.1
x2 (W/m2) 460.80 x2 (A) 1.1
600 s1 (W/m2) 302.9 s1 (A) 0.75
s2 (W/m2) 291.64 s2 (A) 0.78
400 N1 1149 N1 847
N2 1149 N2 847
200 qo 1.47 qo 0
x 2292.71 x 1691.37
0
qc 1.96 qc 1.64
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
2
Pyranometer at Variable Angle (W/m )

Fig. 7. Statistical comparison of the two pyranometers.


4. Theoretical investigation of experimental results

After the experimental investigation of the optimum tilt angle


therefore the solar noon is not at 12:00 LST, which may also derive for the summer period, an effort is currently undertaken in order to
from the daily profile of the solar radiation measurements pre- interpret the results obtained through the theoretical investigation
sented in some of the cases of Fig. 9 (e.g. 15 e45 and 15 e60 ). of the problem examined.
Accordingly, based on the use of Eqs. (1) and (2), typical weekly Theoretical determination of the optimum summer tilt angle is
distribution of “CFPV ” for all comparison sets examined is given in based on the established equations of solar geometry [24,29] and
Fig. 10. More precisely, according to the results obtained, better more precisely on the minimization of the solar radiation incidence
performance of the 15 panel tilt angle is illustrated in all cases angle. Note that zero incidence angle implies vertical incidence of
examined, with the greatest difference between the fixed and the the solar radiation upon the surface under study and thus
variable angle PV pairs appearing in the case of 15 e60 (e.g. maximum absorbance of solar radiation (see also Fig. 11).
difference of the daily “CFPV ” even above 6% in absolute values). In this context, incidence angle “q” is provided by Eq. (3), where
On the other hand, the 15 “CFPV ” value is found to mostly vary parameters involved also include the panel tilt angle “b”, the lati-
between 15% and 22%, i.e. an expected result for the area and period tude of the location examined “4”, the azimuth angle “g”, the solar
of investigation, while difference between the fixed and the vari- hour angle “u” and the solar declination “d”.
able angle PV pairs is minimum in the case of 15 e0 (e.g. even
dropping below 0.15% in absolute values). Overall, the 20-day long cos q ¼ sin d,sin 4,cos b  sin d,cos 4,sin b,cos g
term average relative difference between the fixed and the variable þ cos d,cos 4,cos b,cos u
angle PV pairs’ “CFPV ” is given in Table 4, where maximum devia-
þ cos d,sin 4,sin b,cos g,cos u
tion noted in the case of 15 e60 is found to decrease in the case of
75 , owed mainly to the time period of experimental measure- þ cos d,sin b,sin g,sin u (3)
ments (see also Table 2).
Next, solar declination “d” is given by Eq. (4), where “D” is the
In this context, what should also be stressed is that given the
Julian day of the year.
peak power of the PV panels (i.e. 102 W for each of the pairs),
difference noted in the “CFPV ” values may be used to estimate the d ¼ 23:45,sin½360,ðD þ 284Þ=365 (4)
respective reduction in energy production. For example, in the
extreme case of 15 e60 , the 20-day energy output of the fixed PV Furthermore, solar hour angle “u” is a function of solar time “ST”
pair (i.e. 9.75 kWh) drops to 7.08 kWh for the 60 PV pair, which is and is provided by the following equation, where “ST” is used in
equal to a relative difference of 27.3% (see also Table 4) that decimal form.
underlines the importance of selecting the optimum tilt angle.
u ¼ 15 ,ðST  12Þ (5)
Subsequently, in order to estimate the solar time “ST”, local
Comparison of the Fixed and Variable Angle PV Pairs standard time “LST” along with the standard and the local meridian
3,0 of the area (“Lst” and “Ll” respectively) are required,

2,5 ST ¼ LST  4,ðLst  Ll Þ þ Et  c (6)


Current "I" of PV Pair II (A)

2,0 with (þ) applying for the west hemisphere and () for the east. On
top of that, “c” corresponds to the 1 h correction (i.e. 60 min)
1,5 applying only during the period from the last Sunday of March to
the last Sunday of October so as to raise the daylight saving time
1,0
(otherwise c ¼ 0). Furthermore, “Et” corresponds to the time
0,5 correction function, given by the Watt equation below

0,0 Et ¼ 9:87,sinð2BÞ  7:53,cos B  1:5,sin B (7)


0,0 0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5 3,0
with “B” being also a function of the Julian day of the year “D”.
Current "I" of PV Pair I (A)

Fig. 8. Statistical comparison of the two PV pairs.


B ¼ ½360,ðD  81Þ=364 (8)
310 J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314

Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation
(PV Pair II at 0o) (PV Pair II at 45o)
3,0 1000
3,0 600
Fixed Angle: 15 degrees
Variable Angle: 0 degrees
2,5 500

Horizontal Plane Solar


2,4 800
Solar Radiation

Horizoltal Plane Solar

PV Current "I" (A)

Radiation (W/m )
PV Current "I" (A)

2
Radiation (W/m )
2
2,0 400
1,8 600
1,5 300
1,2 400
Fixed Angle: 15 degrees
1,0 200
Variable Angle: 45 degrees
0,6 Solar Radiation 200
0,5 100

0,0 0 0,0 0

8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
Hour of the Day Hour of the Day

Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation
o
(PV Pair II at 15 ) (PV Pair II at 60o)
3,5 1120 3,0 900

3,0 960 2,5 750

Horizontal Plane Solar


Horizontal Plane Solar

PV Current "I" (A)


PV Current "I" (A)

Radiation (W/m )
2,5 800 Radiation (W/m )

2
2

2,0 600
2,0 640
1,5 450
1,5 480
1,0 Fixed Angle: 15 degrees 300
1,0 Fixed Angle: 15 degrees 320
Variable Angle: 60 degrees
Variable Angle: 15 degrees
0,5 Solar Radiation 160 0,5 Solar Radiation 150

0,0 0 0,0 0
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30

8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
Hour of the Day Hour of the Day

Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation Current Production & Solar Irradiance Daily Variation
o
(PV Pair II at 30 ) (PV Pair II at 75o)
3,0 1000 3,0 900
Fixed Angle: 15 degrees
Variable Angle: 30 degrees 2,5 750

Horizontal Plane Solar


2,4 800
Horizoltal Plane Solar

Solar Radiation
PV Current "I" (A)

PV Current "I" (A)

Radiation (W/m )
Radiation (W/m )

2
2

2,0 600
1,8 600
1,5 450
1,2 400
1,0 300

0,6 200 Fixed Angle: 15 degrees


0,5 Variable Angle: 75 degrees 150
Solar Radiation
0,0 0 0,0 0
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30

8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30

Hour of the Day Hour of the Day

Fig. 9. Comparison of performance between the fixed and the variable angle PV panels for representative days of measurements.

In this context, using the information of Table 5 concerning late afternoon hours, when the panel tilt angle of 0 presents the
assigned values of input parameters, variation of the incidence lower incidence angle value.
angle “q” in relation to the selected panel tilt angle “b” for the entire Nevertheless, as one may obtain from the figure, the 15 tilt angle
summer period is given in Figs. 12 and 13. remains optimum for almost the entire day (from 10:00 to 17:00),
More precisely, in Fig. 12 one may obtain an example for the which also corresponds to the period of maximum solar irradiance
15th of May, which comprises the typical solar day of the specific kept above 500 W/m2. As a result, it becomes clear that for this
month [30]. As one may see, there are six different curves of typical day of May, 15 is the optimum tilt angle since it ensures the
incidence angle “q”, covering the entire range of tilt angles most vertical incidence of the solar irradiance upon the surface of PV
examined, i.e. from 0 to 75 , while distribution of the solar irra- panels for the period of the day that solar irradiance maximizes.
diance at horizontal level is also included. In this context, distri- Similar to Fig. 12, in Fig. 13 one may obtain the respective results
bution of the incidence angle is found to present minimum values for the entire period investigated, on the basis of a one-month time
for the mid-day period (i.e. when the available solar radiation interval, again using the typical solar days of each month investi-
maximizes) in the case of panel tilt angle equal to 15 . On the gated [30]. As one may obtain from the figure, the angle of 15 is
other hand, the situation is inversed during the early morning and maintained as optimum until late July-early August, although it
J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314 311

Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 0o) Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 45o)
25% 25%

20% 20%

Daily Capacity Factor


Daily Capacity Factor

15% 15%

10% 10%

5% 5%

0%
0%

y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7
y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da
Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da
PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (45 degrees)
PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (0 degrees)

Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 15o) Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 60o)
25% 25%

20% 20%

Daily Capacity Factor


Daily Capacity Factor

15% 15%

10% 10%

5% 5%

0%
0%
y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7
y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da
Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (15 degrees) PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (60 degrees)

Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 30o) Daily Performance Comparison (PV Pair II at 75o)
25% 25%

20%
Daily Capacity Factor

20%
Daily Capacity Factor

15%
15%

10%
10%

5%
5%

0%
0%
y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7
y1

y2

y3

y4

y5

y6

y7

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da
Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

Da

PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (75 degrees)


PV Pair I (15 degrees) PV Pair II (30 degrees)

Fig. 10. The impact of the tilt angle variation on the daily capacity factor of the PV panels set at the tilt angle of 15

should be noted that the respective period of the day, during which
15 produce the lower incidence angle, is found to gradually narrow
(in comparison with the respective of May, i.e. from 10:00 to 17:00).
On the other hand, the 30 panel tilt angle seems to produce the

Table 4
Relative deviation of the “CFPV ” between the fixed and the variable angle PV
pairs.

Variable angle PV pair Relative deviation of CFPV


0 2.8%
15 0.3%
30 8.5%
45 17.0%
60 27.3%
75 23.6%
Fig. 11. Incidence angle “q” and tilt angle “b” of a given surface.
312 J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314

Table 5 Accordingly, if matching the time periods of investigation (see


Theoretical model inputs. also Table 2) with the theoretical distributions of the incidence
Parameter Value angle, the “CFPV ” deviations previously obtained from the
Azimuth angle “g” 0 experimental results may be explained. More precisely, as one
Standard Meridian “Lst” 30 may see, in the early period of the summer, i.e. when the 0 tilt
Local Meridian “Ll” 23 400 angle was tested, difference between the “CFPV ” of the fixed and
Latitude “4” 37 580
the variable angle PV pairs should be minimum, validating the
theoretical distributions of the respective angles appearing in
Fig. 12. Besides, as already mentioned, although 15 appears to be
Hourly Variation of the Solar Incidence Angle "θ" in the more efficient during mid-day, the opposite is noted during the
Area of Athens (May 15-Azimuth Angle "γ=0ο") morning and afternoon hours, when 0 produce the minimum
120 β=0 β=15 β=30 β=45 1000 incidence angle.
β=60 β=75 Solar Radiation
108 900 Furthermore, not considering the month of June (i.e. when the
96 800 15 e15 pair was tested) and proceeding to the period of early July,

Horizontal Plane Solar


Incidence Angle "θ"

greater difference between the 15 e30 relative deviation of the

Radiation (W/m )
84 700

2
“CFPV ” in comparison with the 15 e0 case, see also Table 4, is
(degrees)

72 600
60 500 justified on the basis of distributions presented, with the 15
48 400 distribution demonstrating a clear advantage over the respective of
36 300 30 . Subsequently, similar is also the conclusion for the 15 e45
24 200 case (mid-July to end of July-early August), with the greater relative
12 100
deviation of the “CFPV ” in comparison with the former- illustrated
0 0
by the comparison of theoretical distributions.
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
20:00

Furthermore, maximum deviation noted in the case of 15 e60


Hour of the Day
(from early August to mid-August) is also depicted in the respective
Fig. 12. Theoretical daily distributions of the incidence angle for various panel tilt set of theoretical distributions for the month of August, while
angles vs local solar potential (May 15). reduction of the relative “CFPV ” deviation in the case of 15 e75
may be justified by the patterns of theoretical distributions during
minimum incidence angle for the following period between mid- September. Note that during the specific period the 15 angle is no
August and mid-September. Acknowledging the results obtained longer considered as optimum and seems to produce similar inci-
for the period of examination, it becomes evident that among the dence angle values with the corresponding of 75 for an appre-
different angles currently examined, 15 comprises the most effi- ciable part of the day (morning and afternoon hours).
cient in terms of local solar potential exploitation.

Hourly Variation of the Solar Incidence Angle "θ" in the Hourly Variation of the Solar Incidence Angle "θ" in the
Area of Athens (June 11-Azimuth Angle "γ=0ο") Area of Athens (August 16-Azimuth Angle "γ=0ο")
120 120
β=0 β=15
Incidence Angle "θ" (degrees)
Incidence Angle "θ" (degrees)

β=0 β=15
100 β=30 β=45 100
β=30 β=45
β=60 β=75 β=60 β=75
80 80

60 60

40 40

20 20

0 0
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
20:00
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
20:00

Hour of the Day Hour of the Day

Hourly Variation of the Solar Incidence Angle "θ" in the Hourly Variation of the Solar Incidence Angle "θ" in the
ο
Area of Athens (July 17-Azimuth Angle "γ=0ο") Area of Athens (September 15-Azimuth Angle "γ=0 ")
120 120
Incidence Angle "θ" (degrees)

Incidence Angle "θ" (degrees)

β=0 β=15
100 β=0 β=15 100
β=30 β=45
β=30 β=45
β=60 β=75
80 β=60 β=75 80

60 60

40 40

20 20

0 0
8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
20:00

8:00
8:30
9:00
9:30
10:00
10:30
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
13:00
13:30
14:00
14:30
15:00
15:30
16:00
16:30
17:00
17:30
18:00
18:30
19:00
19:30
20:00

Hour of the Day Hour of the Day

Fig. 13. Theoretical daily distributions of the incidence angle for various panel tilt angles and representative summer period days.
J. Kaldellis, D. Zafirakis / Energy 38 (2012) 305e314 313

5. Conclusions !2
s21 s2
Based on an experimental setup, installed at the area of Athens-  2
N1 N2
Greece (37 580 N and 23 400 E) and comprising of a fixed and x ¼ !2 !2 (A.3)
a variable angle PV array, systematic series of measurements con- s21 s22
cerning the performance of two PV pairs were carried out during N1 N2
the summer period. More specifically, consecutive, 20-day sets of þ
N1  1 N2  1
measurements were taken for each different angle of the variable
angle PV pair (i.e. 0 , 15 , 30 , 45 , 60 and 75 ), while keeping the Using “x” and the value of “qc” -determined by the Student
fixed angle PV pair at 15 . More precisely, extensive, 10 min distribution tables for a reliability of 95%- similarity or dissimilarity
measurements of solar irradiance and PV current and voltage of the two measuring instruments is eventually designated through
output were conducted throughout the summer period, allowing validation -or not- of Eq. (A.1).
for the estimation of the respective energy production by each of
the two PV pairs. In this context, emphasis was given on the eval-
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