High-Speed Monitoring of Multiple Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Array Configurations and Supplementary Weather Station
Three grid-connected monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic arrays have been instrumented with research-grade sensors on the Gaithersburg, Maryland campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These arrays range from 73 kW to 271 kW and have different tilts, orientations, and configurations. Irradiance, temperature, wind, and electrical measurements at the arrays are recorded, and images are taken of the arrays to monitor shading and capture any anomalies. A weather station has also been constructed that includes research-grade instrumentation to measure all standard meteorological quantities plus additional solar irradiance spectral bands, full spectrum curves, and directional components using multiple irradiance sensor technologies. Reference photovoltaic (PV) modules are also monitored to provide comprehensive baseline measurements for the PV arrays. Images of the whole sky are captured, along with images of the instrumentation and reference modules to document any obstructions or anomalies. Nearly all measurements at the arrays and weather station are sampled and saved every 1 second, with monitoring having started August 1, 2014. This report describes the instrumentation approach used to monitor the performance of these photovoltaic systems, measure the meteorological quantities, and acquire the images for use in PV performance and weather monitoring and computer model validation.