Nav: Home

The new technology will significantly enhance energy harvest from PV modules

June 11, 2019

The whole world is inevitably moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability of the environment requires changes in the current way of life and introduction of new, more sustainable solutions in our everyday consumption.

The TalTech Power Electronics Research Group led by Researcher-Professor Dmitri Vinnikov has been working on improvement of the efficiency of alternative energy generation units for over decade. "In the early years of the alternative energy deployment, it was outrageously expensive for an ordinary consumer, but the developments in recent years, the triumph of materials technology and the efforts of power electronics engineers have made the price much more affordable for the consumers," Professor Vinnikov says.

The research group led by Dmitri Vinnikov is focusing on the research on solar photovoltaic energy production. Under ideal conditions, any photovoltaic system (solar power plant) would supply consumers with electricity without any problems. Unfortunately, at our latitude there are no ideal operating conditions for PV modules. The environmental and natural factors that affect the performance of such systems most are (apart from Nordic sunlight) deposition of dirt (snow, soil, leaves) on PV module surfaces and long shadows created by lower sun angle affect.

"In order to convert energy, which comes from the renewable energy sources, into electricity for the consumers, a grid converter must be used, which transforms the output of the renewable energy source into a current suitable for home appliances. In addition to a converter, a special devices called power optimizer must be used to maximize energy harvest so that it would not be influenced by weather and would provide maximum benefit for the consumer," Dmitri Vinnikov explains. The power electronics researchers of Tallinn University of Technology have taken a step further to solve this problem - they have developed a hybrid technology Optiverter? that combines the key advantages of photovoltaic power optimizers and grid converters. It is a novel power semiconductor converter technology used in the power systems of small and medium-sized PV installations, and possibly for building integrated PV.

The first prototype of the Optiverter? was created already in 2016. After three years of comprehensive R&D activities the research group is planning, in cooperation with the Estonian company Ubik Solutions OÜ, to start in the near future mass production of Optiverters, which are indispensable in residential solar PV systems.

"Thanks to the patented multimode control, the input voltage range is up to three times wider compared to commercial competitors. Like the power optimizers of PV modules, the Optiverter? ensures maximum energy harvest even if a PV module is under heavy or opaque shade, which usually blocks energy production with conventional PV microinverters. This is an advantage that distinguishes it from the current technology available on the market," Professor Vinnikov says.

The scientists estimate the lifespan of the Optiverter? to be approximately 25 years (the same as the lifespan of a top-grade solar panel). The Optiverter? has invaluable benefits compared to our current, fossil fuel based energy production. In the long term, the Optiverter technology is not only environmentally friendly but also sustainable.

"It is obvious that renewable energy, be it wind energy, biofuel, natural gas or solar energy, is the future," Professor Vinnikov says. "Even if there weren't increasingly stringent EU requirements (applied to fuel prices of motor vehicles, but also for instance to construction work and energy production, etc.) to be complied with, life itself would force us to use more sustainable alternative technologies. All this makes the current, conventional energy production increasingly costly, while the PV systems are experiencing incredible cost reduction for the last five years."
-end-
The TalTech Power Electronics Research Group led by Researcher-Professor Dmitri Vinnikov published the article "Solar Optiverter--A Novel Hybrid Approach to the Photovoltaic Module Level Power Electronics" in the professional journal IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics.

This work was supported by grants from Ubik Solutions OÜ, the Estonian Research Council (project PUT1443) and the Estonian Centre of Excellence in Zero Energy and Resource Efficient Smart Buildings and Districts (ZEBE).

Source: IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics 05/2019 https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8402238

Additional information: Researcher-Professor at TalTech Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics Dmitri Vinnikov, dmitri.vinnikov@taltech.ee

Kersti Vähi, Research Administration Office

Estonian Research Council

Related Renewable Energy Articles:

Renewable energy advance
In order to identify materials that can improve storage technologies for fuel cells and batteries, you need to be able to visualize the actual three-dimensional structure of a particular material up close and in context.
Illuminating the future of renewable energy
A new chemical compound created by researchers at West Virginia University is lighting the way for renewable energy.
Using fiber optics to advance safe and renewable energy
Fiber optic cables, it turns out, can be incredibly useful scientific sensors.
Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe.
Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?
Seasonally pumped hydropower storage could provide an affordable way to store renewable energy over the long-term, filling a much needed gap to support the transition to renewable energy, according to a new study from IIASA scientists.
Scientists take strides towards entirely renewable energy
Researchers have made a major discovery that will make it immeasurably easier for people (or super-computers) to search for an elusive 'green bullet' catalyst that could ultimately provide entirely renewable energy.
Where to install renewable energy in US to achieve greatest benefits
A new Harvard study shows that to achieve the biggest improvements in public health and the greatest benefits from renewable energy, wind turbines should be installed in the Upper Midwest and solar power should be installed in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Croissant making inspires renewable energy solution
The art of croissant making has inspired researchers from Queen Mary University of London to find a solution to a sustainable energy problem.
Are we underestimating the benefits of investing in renewable energy?
Scientists have estimated the emissions intensity of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from a major electricity distributor and highlighted key consequences - essential information for policymakers shaping decisions to reduce electricity system emissions.
Lighting the path to renewable energy
Professor Mahesh Bandi of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) has co-developed a novel, standardized way of quantifying and comparing these variations in solar power.
More Renewable Energy News and Renewable Energy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Uncounted
First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.