Chapter 4

Warming Up to the Solar Resource


Bullet Understanding solar radiation

Bullet Seeing the effects of the sun’s path

Bullet Making the most of the solar resource with proper module placement

Akey consideration in the overall performance of any PV system is how the installed system can use the sun’s energy most effectively. For the array to perform at its best, you need to install it so that it has access to as much energy as possible. Because sunlight is the “fuel” for any PV array, you want to make sure your arrays have full access to as much of the solar resource (the sunlight striking your site) as possible. Having a fundamental understanding of the relationship between the sun and earth allows you to properly site the PV array.

In this chapter, I introduce you to the different forms of solar radiation and how they affect the production of a PV array. I also present you with the keys to understanding how the sun’s path affects your location. Finally, I give you language to use when describing the exact positioning of PV modules in relation to the solar resource.

Note: I don’t expect you to become an astronomer or dissect solar radiation into its different energy values after ...

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