uOttawa Researchers Optimize PV Panel Efficacy


Researchers at the University of Ottawa say they have devised a method to optimize the effectiveness of solar panels, which includes incorporating artificial ground reflectors.

To study how reflective ground covers affect solar energy output, the university’s SUNLAB collaborated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo.

Research found that placing reflective surfaces under solar panels can increase their energy output by up to 4.5%.

“We found that highly reflective white surfaces can boost solar power output,” says Mandy Lewis, the paper’s lead author. “Critically, these reflectors should be placed directly under the solar panels, not between rows, to maximize this benefit.”

The project was funded by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Graduate Scholarships and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The study “Artificial Ground Reflector Size and Position Effects on Energy Yield and Economics of Single Axis Tracked Bifacial Photovoltaics” was published in Progress in Photovoltaics journal.

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