Task 1: PV Module Efficiency FAQs
Q1: What is the status on the PV modules?
A1: Great news! We are working with NextEra Energy to supply each team a PV panel that will be used at the contest in Las Cruces. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, if you want to get started with prototypes, we recommend that you obtain your own PV module for preliminary testing.
Q2: Does the proposed solution need to be implemented on a residential basis or can we just stick to utility-scale?
A2: Focus only on utility scale for your implementation.
Q3: Is the Scale-up array still 100 MW?
A3: No. We are asking that you base your scale-up on a 10 MW array. (Instead of the 100 MW array specified in older versions of the task).
Q4: What are the rack specifications?
A4: We are providing the rack. The rack is made of Unistrut steel embedded in concrete. Weight should not be a problem.
A5: NextEra Energy will be supplying brand-new PV modules. This model: (Coming soon!)
A8: The modules will be provided to the teams without any racks or mounts.
Teams may attach the cooling system to the module frame with flat brackets using some of the pre-drilled mounting holes, but should keep the top and bottom mounting holes on the long edges of the modules clear for us to mount the modules. (“Top” and “Bottom” refers to the modules being mounted in a portrait orientation.
This will be similar to the way the modules would have to be mounted in an actual PV array.
Q9: For the Preliminary Design Report, it states to include our predicted efficiency of the planned design. In regards to the efficiency, is this referencing the efficiency of the panel to convert the light spectrum to energy, or the efficiency of the power outage of the cell in regards to its manufacture-stated power output?A9: You could include calculations explaining improvements in the efficiency of the panel to convert the light spectrum to energy after your solution is deployed or added to the panel, or efficiency (efficacy) of your proposed solution, or both.
Q10: For the thermodynamic study, are there any specific calculations or reviews that you want us to include?
A10: We would like to see some scientific calculation showing that your solution does indeed lead to the overall system efficiency or output improvement, and that your solution does not violate any of the laws of Thermodynamics.
Q11: Is there a specific solar farm we should contact for more information about what they are looking as we cool the modules?
A11: WERC has not been in contact with any commercial solar farm, but you may want to contact one or more to ascertain their needs. The task was inspired by the recommendations of staff at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This is a problem that they are actively working on. It was they who specifically indicated an interest in the items in the bulleted list (see task problem statement):
- Phase-changing materials
- Optical coatings (require specialty equipment and technical expertise–NREL did not expect a college team to be able to tackle this approach).
The test will begin at sunset on the 6th, run all night and continue all day on the 7th and stop at sunset on the 7th–About 24 hours for the test.
Email list: If you would like up-to-the-minute notification of new FAQs for the PV Module task, please let us know that you are working on the project and we will add you to the Task 1 mailing list.
Please check back regularly.