Design and characterisation of a novel translucent solar concentrator
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This thesis begins with an investigation into the optical performances of the Crossed Compound Parabolic Concentrator (CCPC) for photovoltaic application and introduces the novel concept of a Translucent Integrated Concentrated Photovoltaic (TICPV). The use of solar concentrators in BIPV enables a reduction in the cost of generating photovoltaic electricity lending to yet another field of research known as Building Integrated Concentrated Photovoltaics (BICPV). The potential of BICPV as the most promising technologies for future electricity supply is examined by the design, optimisation and testing of the main component of the TICPV, a novel static nonimaging transparent 3-D concentrator coined the Square Elliptical Hyperboloid (SEH), for the use in building fenestrations. The SEH concentrator was designed and optimised via ray-tracing technique. A preliminary investigation into the optical efficiencies of 160 SEH concentrators of varying geometries was conducted and from this 20 concentrators were chosen and studied in more detail using the developed optical model with the aim of obtaining an optimised SEH concentrator out of these 20. The optimisation process proved to be far from straightforward, however, after careful consideration, five SEH concentrators with the best optical performances, each with different heights, were chosen. These concentrators were fabricated and used to assemble five separate TICPV modules. Subsequent to carrying out the simulation, the five optimised TICPV modules were examined in different environments (indoor and outdoor). The results of the indoor test, where the TICPV modules are exposed to direct radiation from a solar simulator, provided clear validation of the optical model; the results of the outdoor test added further to the validation and confirmed the power output of the TICPV modules when exposed to both direct and diffuse radiations. The TICPV modules are developed in a way such that they collect sunlight during most of the hours throughout the day, allowing the generation of electrical power whilst maintaining the level of transparency of the fenestration. It was found that the TICPV modules are capable of saving more than 60% of the solar cells used in conventional flat PV systems. The designed TICPV modules simultaneously provide solar energy generation and optimised day lighting. The TICPV module designed in this thesis provides a viable solution to coping with the increasing energy demands and will create a new age of energy efficient buildings reducing the carbon footprint of both existing buildings and buildings of the future.