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Test site

The outdoor test facility can be used to assess the performance of panels or systems under real world operating conditions. The site is equipped with radiation monitoring equipment from Kipp & Zonen to provide full data on global, beam and diffuse radiation as well as sky temperature. Pyranometers can also be mounted on the test plane for any collector, giving more precise data on global radiation falling on the collector, which may otherwise be affected by the distribution of diffuse radiation. kz300225.jpg
Full weather data are also gathered, indicating important features such as wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, relative humidity, rainfall and barometeric pressure.

panels200300.jpg We have approximately 30 square metres of photovoltaic panels installed. These are arranged in three arrays, each of which is individually monitored. The output of each set of panels will be assessed against a full set of weather and radiation data to establish full performance characteristics of the panels.

In addition to the radiation and weather data gathered from the test site monitoring equipment, a pyranometer mounted on the collector frame measures the radiation falling on the plane of the collectors themselves. Monitoring the radiation on the tilted pane is important since the exact distribution of diffuse and reflected radiation is not known.

We also have 12 square metres of solar thermal collectors installed.

These feed two pressurized storage tanks that can be run using different control strategies to assess the system efficiency at collecting heat at temperatures up to 125°C. The system is designed to be as flexible as possible and can be programmed to function with the measured radiation falling on the collectors.