International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.45, No.1, 772-785, 2021
Performance improvement study of an integrated photovoltaic system for offshore power production
Sustainable energy is one of the main options for resolving energy problems and climate change issues. Solar energy is one of the main promising renewable energy sources, which can be captured and converted to electrical energy through photovoltaic (PV) panels. In the open literature, it is shown that having two PV panels integrated into a back-to-back configuration placed on naturally reflective surfaces provides the potential of doubling the total power produced by a single-faced PV panel with the appropriate location and orientation. This paper presents a case study of two-PV panel systems for offshore power production. The relevance to offshore has the water surface as the reflective surface to produce power from the back facing panel. The city of Ottawa in Canada is selected as the location for a case study. Various conditions and operating parameters are considered in assessing the performance of the proposed system, including solar radiation intensity, system orientation, time of year in terms of months, and the variations in parameters throughout the day. The assessment of the proposed system is carried out through modeling and simulating the proposed double PV panels in the COMSOL Multiphysics software. It is found that the minimum improvement in the total power production over the single face conventional PV is 38% in January for the east-facing PV front face. For the two PV systems, the optimal overall power production for the various time conditions and orientations, at the specified location, is found to be the north orientation of the PV panel. In this case, the power it produces is 89% of that of the east orientation. A similar trend is observed for the single-faced PV panel, where the north-facing PV provides 62% of what it could produce in the east-facing orientation.