Monitoring of photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) Power Plants (Invited Speaker)
There are many reasons to monitor solar installations, such as: following up on the energy yield, assessing the solar system performance and timely identifying design weaknesses and/or malfunctions. These needs for monitoring fall into three main groups:
– user feedback,
– performance verification,
– system evaluation/diagnostic.
As a matter of fact, a good monitoring system allows the energy professional to easily determine that a system is running properly, and gives access to information that will help to troubleshoot a malfunctioning system. Consumers generally want to know the overall system production, along with cost savings or environmental benefit derived from that production. And nowadays, everyone wants that information in real time. Professionals need data pushed to them in the form of alerts to system malfunctions (via email or text message), along with remote access to real-time data that allow them to drill down to the performance of individual system components and sensors. An internet-accessible “dashboard” should permit the consumer to observe near real-time production and review the operating history. The monitoring system must flag clues to problems with the system. It becomes clear that to maximize effectiveness, advanced monitoring and more intelligent control should be brought together in one smart, connected device. An integrated control/monitoring system is the most powerful tool available to efficiently manage PV and solar thermal operations. Once the domain of expensive industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, these capabilities are now available in lower-cost, easy-to-use controllers. It has to be stressed the importance of real-time, live interaction with the PV and ST systems, with a complete and remotely accessible view of device status and history.
From the monitoring point of view, a PVT plant can be viewed as two separate systems: a PV system and an ST thermal system. On this regard, basically, performance measurements of PVT collectors need to be in agreement with IEC 61215 for the electrical part and with EN 12975-2 for the thermal part. Yet, the close energetic interactions need to be taken into account, especially concerning the procedures and conditions of measurements. After a general overview of the proposed topic, focusing on PVT systems is provided.