Test rig for the integration of photovoltaic installations in buildings and power grids

What is the expected output of a photovoltaic module mounted on a south-facing roof at a 30 degree angle? What temperatures does a module reach when mounted on a flat roof or on a façade? How much energy can a transparent or opaque prefabricated façade component with integrated photovoltaic module produce? What are the benefits resulting from the combination of a storage system with a photovoltaic system? Which inverter should be used? What are the effects of a photovoltaic system on the power grid? The PV Integration Lab is an open-air laboratory that can answer precisely these questions ‑ for manufacturers, architects, installers and sales people. In this laboratory, both free-standing photovoltaic modules and systems as well as those integrated into architectural structures can be tested for their electrical performance under real-life conditions. In addition, photovoltaic systems can be combined with storage systems, allowing their impact on the power grid to be monitored.

The laboratory has a model of a roof structure of 20 square meters (5 x 4 m), which can be tilted up to 60° and aligned in any direction. In this way roof slopes and other building envelope components can be positioned realistically. The structure is linked to a monitoring system that measures parameters in real time such as electrical power, temperature or the effects of radiation and thus the efficiency of the installed modules. A façade model (4 x 6 m) allows one to test, under real conditions in the laboratory, the performance of photovoltaic modules which are integrated into solar-active façades. In order to be able to work as realistically as possible, care was taken during the construction of the test façade that it can even support heavy façade components in any weather without any difficulty. The structure is divided into six modules measuring 2 x 2 m in order to accommodate several components simultaneously. The measuring system of the test façade can also investigate complex systems, for example those in which photovoltaic systems, electrical storage modules and control systems interact.

The facility additionally has a climate box, which allows the temperature of the interior area of the respective façade component to adapt to conventional living room temperatures. A standard photovoltaic system, which is connected to a storage and charging device, additionally allows the testing of innovative energy storage systems. Storage systems are the key to optimising the relationship between locally produced energy and the energy consumption of a building.

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Research institute