A consortium of research company TNO, Heliox, Zwanendal and solar energy producers Vattenfall and Solarfields are investigating the effects of turbine shade, in particular those caused by the blades, on the energy yield of solar parks. The research project will run until the end of October 2022 and should result in recommendations for the design and selection of power electronics and for the design and operation of combined solar and wind farms.
Solar energy and wind energy are to some extent complementary. and the two are being combined at an increasing number of locations. Wind turbines and solar panels are an excellent combination because they can jointly use the same electricity connection without large yield losses, says TNO researcher Nico Dekker: “Ideally, the wind turbines should be on the north side of the plot and the solar panels on the south side.
However, this is not always possible, resulting in shade from the wind turbines on the solar panels. We distinguish on the one hand the slowly moving shadow caused by the turbine tower and on the other hand the dynamic, rapidly moving shadow caused by the turbine blades. The slowly moving shadow can be easily incorporated into the design. However, relatively little is known about the dynamic, rapidly moving shadow, which is why we are going to investigate it.”
An earlier TNO study, in which dynamic shading was investigated on a small scale, showed that a dynamic shadow can lead to greater energy loss than an equally large slowly moving shadow. Application of the right power electronics can reduce this effect and thus also limit the additional load on the installation.
Measurements at exisiting solar parks
To determine the effect of shade, TNO will conduct detailed, high-frequency measurements at operational solar parks operated by Solarfields and Vattenfall. TNO’s simulation models will be used to determine the effect of slowly moving and rapidly moving shading on the performance of and stresses on solar panels and power electronics such as inverters. Heliox will analyse the stresses on the power electronics and how this relates to the system design and the control algorithms.
Based on this, the project partners will draw up recommendations for the design and selection of power electronics and for the design and operation of combined solar and wind farms. The aim is to maximise the energy yield and reduce the load and failures of electrical components. Source: TNO