Installation and operation of the first city centre PV monitoring station in the United Kingdom

Alison Wilshaw, Nicola Pearsall, Robert Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Recent interest in the application of PV in buildings throughout northern Europe has developed a need for long-term records of the solar resource in urban situations. Previous records have usually been collected from locations quite remote from city centre sites and, furthermore, at hourly sampling frequencies which are not rapid enough for photovoltaic applications. The installation of a photovoltaic monitoring station in a city centre in the north-east of England is described. Weather monitoring instruments were installed to measure ambient temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and solar irradiance. Four types of photovoltaic modules are mounted on the rig in typical building orientations in order to assess their performance with respect to PV cladding applications. Preliminary investigations have shown that the electricity generated by PV cladding on vertical surfaces experiences much less seasonal variation than that on a horizontal surface. The performance of north and south facing modules has also been compared and this has shown that the north facing modules generate reasonably large amounts of electricity, particularly during the summer months. The proportion of diffuse irradiance on a north facing surface has been studied and quantified for various amounts of global horizontal irradiance. Analysis of the cadmium telluride modules has confirmed a better response to diffuse irradiance than the silicon modules and records of the amorphous silicon module show no evidence of cell degradation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997


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