The lack of predictive performance tools creates a barrier to the widespread use of building integrated photovoltaic panels. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) “test bed” to capture experimental data that can be used to improve and validate previously developed computer simulation tools. Twelve months of performance data have been collected for building integrated photovoltaic panels using four different cell technologies – crystalline, polycrystalline, silicon film, and triple-junction amorphous. Two panels using each cell technology were present, one without any insulation attached to its rear surface and one with insulation having a nominal thermal resistance value of 3.5 m2·K/W attached to its rear surface. The performance data associated with these eight panels, along with meteorological data, were compared to the predictions of a photovoltaic model developed jointly by Maui Solar Software and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), which is implemented in their IV Curve Tracer software [1]. The evaluation of the predictive performance tools was done in the interest of refining the tools to provide BIPV system designers with a reliable source for economic evaluation and system sizing.

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