Floating photovoltaic (FPV) systems have experienced within the last decade exponential growth reaching a cumulative global installed capacity of 1.1GW in 2018 with installations in quarry lakes, hydropower dams, pumped storage reservoirs, wastewater treatment facilities, etc. . FPV systems have been reported to have increased performance between 5-12.5% compared to ground-mounted systems at fixed-tilt mainly attributed to an increase in operating PV efficiency due to the cooling effect of the water environment [1,2]. The gains reported varying as FPV performance depends on location and the climatological conditions at the site.
This PhD project will investigate the mechanisms leading to energy gains and losses in FPV systems and the effect of environmental parameters on FPV performance and develop a complete model for energy yield prediction. The effect of all possible cooling modes from wind and water including heat convection radiated heat and evaporative cooling will be modelled along with the recuperation of power output leading to estimates of energy yield enhancement. A dynamic model for the spatially resolved prediction of FPV temperature and power output will be developed based on an optical, electrical and thermal analysis taking into consideration location-dependent environmental conditions through parameters relating to solar radiation, ambient temperature, wind velocity and direction, humidity, water temperature, etc as well as FPV mounting configurations and design parameters. For model validation, experiments will be carried out in the laboratory under simulated conditions at UEA facilities and where possible comparisons will be made against real data from actual FPV installations obtained from our industrial partners.