From the solar cell to system planning

Experiments in the photovoltaics laboratory and insights into practical application

From May 30 to June 3, the block week for the summer semester 2022 took place again at Ansbach University of Applied Sciences. Apart from the usual lectures, the students take part in case studies, business games or excursions during this time.

Students from the bachelor’s degree program in Applied Engineering as well as from the master’s degree program in Smart Energy Systems spent a whole week intensively dealing with the topic of photovoltaics in the Photovoltaics Engineering course taught by Prof. Georg Rosenbauer and Prof. Mathias Moog.

Initially, individual photovoltaic (PV) cells of different types were examined under laboratory conditions. Under an artificial sun, the characteristic values such as open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current as well as efficiency were determined in each case.

Based on this, the participants then dealt with the effects of irradiation angle, partial shading and temperature on the performance of various PV modules together with the associated inverter. The experiments were carried out outdoors on the campus grounds in Ansbach. Thanks to the eye-catching set-up, this also attracted the attention of bystanders.

The next step was to correctly dimension and plan a PV system using the PV*SOL software. Not only did structural conditions such as location, climate and roof pitch have to be taken into account, but also economic aspects had to be evaluated correctly. In addition to the selection of suitable modules, the expected self-consumption by heat pumps, battery storage or electric car also plays an important role and must be taken into account in the design.

Finally, the PV system on the roof of the Ansbach University of Applied Sciences was inspected and examined. In addition to mechanical or electrical defects, attention was also paid to soiling and plant growth. The economic damage caused by an undetected defect in a module was evaluated on the basis of measurement data from recent years.