Characterisation of a solar roof tile (SunSlates™) : with focus on local applicability and conditions

Rautenbach, Karel Frederick (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-12)

Project report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


Three SunSlates™ were investigated to predict the performance of a fully installed system. The three slates were mounted on a fixed tilt of 30°, but with different orientations. The tilt is close to latitude of the Stellenbosch site, which is 33.92°. The one faces due east, another due west and last due north. This is to determine the effect that orientation has on the energy from the SunSlates™. Another slate, also facing north, was mounted on an adjustable framework. The framework was used to adjust the tilt angle of the slate, the orientation of the slate was constantly north. This slate was used to determine the effect of tilt on the total daily energy produced by the slate. To determine the performance of the slates daily measurements of temperature, solar insolation and wind was taken. These were used to investigate the effects on the SunSlates™. During the test period, which scheduled from September to November, the results show a difference, smaller than commonly believed, in the daily and annual energy delivered from the differently orientated slates. The slates facing east and west, however, have similar energy outputs, even though the power profiles differ. The north facing slate has the highest annual energy output, as expected. It was found that during the months of summer, November to January, the optimal tilted slate (Slate tilted to have a incidence angle of 0° from solar rays at noon) had a slightly lower energy output, but higher maximum power output per day than the 30 degree tilted slate. This is in contrast to the energy output predictions for the winter months where in the winter the energy can be as much as double that of the 30 degree tilted slate. The thorough testing and expert installation of the SunSlates™ are essential. From the case study it can be seen that some problems during installation, possibly a single faulty slate or shadowing, can cause a complete system to lose 30% of its efficiency.

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