Abstract

In comparison to fossil fuels, solar energy is a more sustainable option due to its high availability and less environmental impact. Improving the efficiency of solar farms has been a primary concern of solar energy research. Many studies focus on the control of the tilt angle of solar modules to maximize their solar radiation reception and energy generation. However, an increase in solar radiation is accompanied by an increase in module temperature, which is known to be a significant parameter that reduces the power generation efficiency. Wind is another influential factor that helps Photovoltaic systems maintain a low operating temperature by enhancing the rate of heat transfer. Therefore, solar radiation and wind behavior are both critical parameters that must be considered to optimize solar panel performance. In this paper, the effect of wind conditions on solar panel performance will be examined. The solar panel energy output model will be built by empirically considering the irradiation, ambient temperature, wind speed, and wind direction. The published weather data and energy output data for the year 2017–2018 have been collected from Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, located in Lancaster, California. Four models have been proposed and the results indicate that the model which incorporates the wind conditions has the highest accuracy in approximating the energy production of solar farms. Among the factors that affect the temperature of solar panels and further the efficiency of solar panels including solar irradiation, convection, conduction, wind plays a major role in convective heat transfer. Based on this model, the potential improvement of energy generation via introducing a horizontal installation angle and adjusting this angle monthly according to the wind conditions is further analyzed. These results will help designers improve the design of solar farms by taking into consideration the local weather conditions.

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