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Effects of PV array layout, electrical configuration and geographic orientation on mismatch losses caused by moving clouds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-555
Number of pages8
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The mismatch losses of photovoltaic (PV) systems are mainly caused by partial shading and the largest mismatch losses are caused by sharp shadows. However, in large scale PV plants majority of shading events is caused by moving clouds which lead to gentle irradiance transitions causing typically only minor irradiance differences between adjacent PV modules. Irradiance transitions caused by the edges of cloud shadows have an average length of almost 150 m meaning that even the largest PV power plants are widely affected by them. In addition of mismatch losses, these irradiance transitions can lead to failures in maximum power point tracking and cause significant fluctuations in the output power of PV systems. In this paper, the effects of PV array shape, electrical configuration and orientation on mismatch losses caused by moving clouds were studied based on apparent velocity and other measured characteristics of roughly 27,000 irradiance transitions. The study was conducted using a mathematical model and parametrisation method of irradiance transitions and an experimentally verified simulation model of a PV module based on the well-known one-diode model of a PV cell. The studied electrical PV array configurations were series-parallel, total-cross-tied and multi-string. The results of this study confirmed a prior conclusion, namely, that the mismatch losses decrease with decreasing PV string length. It was also found that the array orientation has a considerable effect on the mismatch losses of the studied array layouts. The mismatch losses were the smallest when the dominant direction of movement of the shadow edges was perpendicular to the PV strings. The differences in the mismatch losses between the studied electrical array configurations were very small. The results indicated that the mismatch losses caused by moving clouds have only a minor effect on the overall efficiency of PV arrays.


  • Irradiance transition, Mismatch losses, Partial shading, Photovoltaic power generation

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