Photovoltaic Array

An interconnected system of PV modules that function as a single electricity-producing unit.

The modules are assembled as a discrete structure, with common support or mounting. In smaller systems, an array can consist of a single module.

Array Current

The electrical current produced by a photovoltaic array when it is exposed to sunlight.

Array Operating Voltage

The voltage produced by a photovoltaic array when exposed to sunlight and connected to a load.

Cloud Enhancement

The increase in solar intensity caused by reflected irradiance from nearby clouds.

Design Month

The month having the combination of insolation and load that requires the maximum energy from the photovoltaic array.

Diffuse Radiation

Radiation received from the sun after reflection and scattering by the atmosphere and ground.

Temperature Effects

There are three factors that are normally taken into account when sizing the components for a photvoltaic array:

  1. the decrease in battery capacity at cold temperatures
  2. the decrease in PV module voltage at high temperatures
  3. decrease in the current carrying capability of wire at high temperatures

Tracking Array

A photovoltaic array that follows the path of the sun to maximize the solar radiation incident on the solar cell surface.

Two-Axis Tracking

A photovoltaic array tracking system capable of rotating independently about two axes, normally vertical and horizontal.

See also: Photovoltaic Cell, Photovoltaic System, Pyrheliometer, Solar Cell, Split Spectrum Solar Cell.

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Subjects: Electrical Engineering

NREL Photovoltaic Research NREL research into photovoltaics: silicon materials, polycrystalline films, new materials, performance, reliability and the engineering of arrays of cells for renewables.