Large scale evaluation of photovoltaic technologies in different climates

Most solar photovoltaic (PV) optimisation work to date has tended to take a reductionist approach, focusing on how individual parameters affect energy performance of systems. The impact of design choices on financial payback have been researched separately, thereby overlooking potentially significant interactions. This paper presents a project taking a more holistic approach to the problem of system optimisation. It is unique in taking a systems engineering approach to solar PV research, and recognises the needs of designers and specifiers in analysing the effect of design choices on financial payback. Four near-identical, grid-connected 200kW PV systems are being installed onto large commercial rooftops in urban areas, with comprehensive monitoring systems, therefore high quality data will be used to validate any models used. This paper reports on the initial set-up and the design of the scientific analysis.