Quantifying Insolation in Multiple Shading Scenarios


This study seeks to quantify how much insolation varies over the span of a typical photovoltaic (PV) array. A solar sensor array was constructed and deployed at three locations where environmental conditions vary from full sun to highly restricted sunlight. Data was recorded at each location and then analyzed to find the effects of shading. In traditional series-parallel photovoltaic systems the total power output of the system is highly dependent on the full insolation of every cell. One cell with low insolation properties will drag down the current of an entire series string. Analysis of the sensor array data has shown that insolation varies substantially, even on an unshaded site. These findings should help, along with future research, to demonstrate the necessity of eliminating series strings from PV systems to increase energy production.

Meeting Name

IEEE Green Technologies Conference (2011: Apr. 14-15, Baton Rouge, LA)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


National Science Foundation
California Energy Commission
Missouri Space Grant Consortium
Leonard Wood Institute
U.S. Army Research Laboratory


This work was supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant #0812121, and by the California Energy Commission 56086A/08-22. The NASA-Missouri Space Consortium has also granted a fellowship for this project. Research was sponsored by the Leonard Wood Institute in cooperation with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-07-2-0062

Keywords and Phrases

Energy Productions; Environmental Conditions; Photovoltaic Arrays; Photovoltaic Systems; PV System; Series-Parallel; Total Power; Photovoltaic Cells; Photovoltaic Effects; Sensor Arrays; Technology; Incident Solar Radiation; Arrays; Temperature Measurement; Temperature Sensors; Voltage Measurement; Current Measurement; Mathematical Model; Equations; Solar Power Stations; Photovoltaic Power Systems

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

978-1612847146; 978-1612847139

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2166-546X; 2166-5478

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2011