A challenge is emerging for utilities having a significant reliance on solar power generation. Such a reliance leads to substantial solar power generation in the midday hours and insufficient solar power generation during the late-day hours. This yields high demand and an upswing in electrical power prices at the end of the day when the solar generating capacity is low. The upswing is titled the "Duck Curve" and it is a growing concern—particularly for California. This work tackles this challenge by introducing an engineered solar cell array that traps light over a broadened range of incident angles, which leads to increased late-day solar power generation. The proposed U-Groove Array consists of a periodic array of U-shaped grooves that are parallel and macroscopic in size. This work shows that a U-Groove Array, when engineered with the appropriate orientation and aspect ratio, promotes multiple reflection and absorption processes for low-angle light. This broadens the duration over which the array collects solar power, extending the generation into the high-value evening hours. The accumulated value of the solar power generated by the U-Groove Array is simulated and compared to that of two contemporary structures: a standard array of flat solar cells and an analogous V-Groove Array (which has been the subject of numerous recent investigations). It is shown that future implementations of the UGroove Array can outperform these contemporary structures and yield improved solar power generation.
Adrian B. Boivin, Timothy M. Westgate, and Jonathan F. Holzman, "A linear solar cell array for prolonged and high-value light capture," Proc. SPIE 10527, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices VII, 105270O (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2018; Published: 16 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289175.
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