Sensitivity of Concentrating Photovoltaics to Solar Tracking Error

Joshua Morse, Mark Campanelli, Keith Emery

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


An asymmetric, three-parameter field-of-view (FOV) is defined and proposed as a more comprehensive alternative to the symmetric acceptance angle currently used to characterize concentrating photovoltaic device sensitivity to non-zero angles of incidence of solar irradiance. Normalized contour maps of module response against two-axis solar tracker errors in degrees were generated from module short-circuit current, maximum power, and current at maximum power measurements over a range of solar incidence angles. For each of these performance parameters, a quadric surface was fit using linear least squares to the upper 10% of the module response data set. The three-parameter FOV is defined as the elliptical area enclosed by the largest level curve of the fit surface that can be inscribed within a convex hull representation of the upper 10% data set. Applying this FOV as a tracking-error data filter for efficiency measurements from NREL's Prototype Concentrator Evaluation Test Bed (OCIV) resulted in an 8% increase in measured efficiency on one of the tested modules.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2014
Event40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2014 - Denver, United States
Duration: 8 Jun 201413 Jun 2014


Conference40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5J00-61247


  • acceptance angle
  • alignment sensitivity
  • concentrating photovoltaic performance characterization
  • data filtering
  • field of view
  • tracking error


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