maximum power of solar panels

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,444
It seems that solar panels are rated for STC conditions, for example irradiance 1000W/m2 at 25C degrees. For example this JAM72330-550 panel is rated 550W for STC conditions https://cdn.autosolar.es/pdf/ficha-tecnica-1002329.pdf

What happens if there are even higher irradiance (for example 1200W/m2)? could the panel give even more power than 550W?
Yes. Cloud glint/edge lensing on solar panels will produce higher power.
https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/news/cloudy-days-and-solar-arrays
Cloud Lensing and Broken Cloud Fields
Certain cloudy conditions can actually increase the amount of light reaching solar power generation systems. On the afternoon of April 22, 2020, GOES-17 (GOES-West) viewed a large amount of stationary cloud cover over the San Francisco area. The frozen water molecules inside of high-altitude clouds refracted the sun’s light, which in turn caused brighter-than-normal conditions on the ground compared to the darker blue skies of a clear day. This phenomenon, which is called “cloud lensing,” is unusual, and typically lasts for a period of 5–10 minutes. However, this high power event lasted for four hours, between 12–4 p.m. PST.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,254
It seems that solar panels are rated for STC conditions, for example irradiance 1000W/m2 at 25C degrees. For example this JAM72330-550 panel is rated 550W for STC conditions https://cdn.autosolar.es/pdf/ficha-tecnica-1002329.pdf

What happens if there are even higher irradiance (for example 1200W/m2)? could the panel give even more power than 550W?
Yes, but within limits. You could use mirrors, for instance, to shine more light on the panels and that will increase their output. But their efficiency will start to drop beyond some point and, beyond some other point, they will start to be damaged. Remember that panels are designed to work more-or-less optimally under 'typical' conditions, and so their ability to handle greater incident power well may be pretty minimal. Just speculating, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that, no matter how much light you shine on a normal panel, that you can't get much more than two or three times the rated power output from it.

But you could certainly design panels intended to work well under the kind of intense light that the use of lensing or mirroring could produce (again, up to a point), but those panels would probably work worse under normal conditions than present panels do, not to mention probably costing considerably more.

I don't know if such panels are still on the market, but many years ago there was interest on the part of some start-ups and some utilities for such panels with the idea of using a relatively small number of expensive high-power panels in conjunction with arrays of low cost mirrors to reflect large amounts of light onto them. This struck me as a very reasonable approach to take, but as near as I can tell it has all-but been abandoned.
 
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