SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its broader efforts to build knowledge and advance the state of the art in solar PV technology, eIQ Energy has agreed to be an industry partner in the Open Solar Outdoors Test Field (OSOTF), a Canadian research initiative that will create open-source data on real-world performance of a photovoltaic array under varying weather conditions.
The OSOTF, based at St. Lawrence College’s Kingston, Ontario, campus, is a fully grid-connected test system. The performance of its 95 PV modules is being correlated with a wide range of highly accurate meteorological measurements, to provide new levels of insight into array operations. The project is a partnership of the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Center at St. Lawrence College and the Applied Sustainability Group at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
The array utilizes eIQ Energy’s vBoost DC-to-DC converter modules rather than traditional series-string wiring. This approach provides researchers with the ability to isolate each individual module on the bus and identify its specific performance characteristics. Because each module operates independently of those around it, each can be measured on its individual merits. The OSOTF team has relied on the vBoost unit’s 99.6% efficient MPPT algorithm to control modules at their most efficient point of power production. This approach not only optimizes the power production of each module, but also provides OSOTF with the ability to collect independent data on each module while having them all connected into a single central inverter.
One early experiment at OSOTF will quantify power losses due to snowfall, and recommend best practices for array design in snowy climates. This type of situation, when panels are partially covered by snow, can be catastrophic for series-wired array performance, noted Michael Lamb, vice president of business development for eIQ Energy. “We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the study when they come out later this year; we think it’s a situation where Parallel Solar can really add value,” said Lamb.
Future experiments will explore novel system layouts, low-level concentration, and the effects of spectral composition on solar cell performance. All data and analysis will be made freely available to the worldwide photovoltaic community and the general public.
eIQ Energy is one of a growing number of industry partners at OSOTF, including KACO New Energy Inc. and DuPont Canada. Funding has been provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. More details can be found at http://www.appropedia.org/OSOTF .
About eIQ Energy
eIQ Energy, Inc. uses unique power management technology to make solar energy more effective and affordable. The company’s Parallel Solar technology, built around the vBoost converter module, reduces overall system costs and enables a true parallel architecture, benefiting system designers, installers and operators. eIQ Energy was founded in 2007 with the principal goal of improving the performance and the return on investment for clean energy sources such as photovoltaic systems. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., eIQ Energy’s executive team combines sophisticated knowledge of power supply design, semiconductors and energy management with broad entrepreneurial skills. For more information, please visit www.eiqenergy.com