3D simulation of complex shading affecting PV systems taking benefit from the power of graphics cards developed for the video game industry

Jesus Robledo, Jonathan Leloux, Eduardo Lorenzo
WebPV, Madrid, Spain
arXiv:1410.5780 [cs.OH], (3 Oct 2014)


   author={Robledo}, J. and {Leloux}, J. and {Lorenzo}, E.},

   title={"{3D simulation of complex shading affecting PV systems taking benefit from the power of graphics cards developed for the video game industry}"},

   journal={ArXiv e-prints},




   keywords={Computer Science – Other Computer Science},




   adsnote={Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}


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Shading reduces the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) system. The design engineering of PV systems requires modeling and evaluating shading losses. Some PV systems are affected by complex shading scenes whose resulting PV energy losses are very difficult to evaluate with current modeling tools. Several specialized PV design and simulation software include the possibility to evaluate shading losses. They generally possess a Graphical User Interface (GUI) through which the user can draw a 3D shading scene, and then evaluate its corresponding PV energy losses. The complexity of the objects that these tools can handle is relatively limited. We have created a software solution, 3DPV, which allows evaluating the energy losses induced by complex 3D scenes on PV generators. The 3D objects can be imported from specialized 3D modeling software or from a 3D object library. The shadows cast by this 3D scene on the PV generator are then directly evaluated from the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Thanks to the recent development of GPUs for the video game industry, the shadows can be evaluated with a very high spatial resolution that reaches well beyond the PV cell level, in very short calculation times. A PV simulation model then translates the geometrical shading into PV energy output losses. 3DPV has been implemented using WebGL, which allows it to run directly from a Web browser, without requiring any local installation from the user. This also allows taken full benefits from the information already available from Internet, such as the 3D object libraries. This contribution describes, step by step, the method that allows 3DPV to evaluate the PV energy losses caused by complex shading. We then illustrate the results of this methodology to several application cases that are encountered in the world of PV systems design.
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