Solar Research at UMD
Stage 0: Solar Education
This educational stage does not involve any research on solar technology. The goals of Stage 0 are:
- Monitor the existing 5.8 kW solar panel at Malosky Stadium
- Set up a weather station to monitor ambient conditions
- Archive the weather data and solar panel data
- Develop this interactive website to display the data as an educational tool
- Solar panel data and weather station data are being collected and archived
- The interactive website is still in the process of being developed
Stage 1: Concentrated PhotoVoltaic Research
In Stage 1, three additional solar panels capable of tracking the sun will be added to the roof of the stadium. Two of the panels will have mirrored plastic film surrounding the solar cells to concentrate sunlight, doubling or quadrupling the effective surface area of the panel. The third panel will have solar cells without concentration as a control.
- Are CPV systems well suited to Northern Latitude locations?
- What is the optimal concentration, balancing increased output against the loss of efficiency due to rise in operating temperature?
- What is the Cost/Benefit ratio of optimized low-power solar concentration in northern latitudes?
This Stage, and any subsequent stages, is still seeking funding.
Stage 2: Combined Solar Thermal and Solar Electric
Stage 2 research would attempt to maximize both the light energy and heat energy in sunlight. A heat exchanger with either a glycol or phase change coolant is attached to the back of a 4X CPV panel. Optimum temperature for generating electricity in the solar panel would be maintained by the cooling system. In Summer, the excess heat is rejected to the outdoor environment. In Winter, the excess heat is released into the building through another heat exchanger.
- Are Hybrid Solar Thermal/CPV systems well suited to Northern Latitude locations?
- What is the optimal balance between the X-Power concentration and the size of the Thermal System?
- What is the Cost/Benefit ratio of optimized Hybrid solar concentration in northern latitudes?