Spanish researchers compared two software used to analyze bifacial PV systems. They found that PVsyst outperformed Comsol in calculating solar energy production in almost every case.
PVsyst is a globally popular software package for studying, compiling, simulating and analyzing data from photovoltaic systems. Comsol Multiphysics software is able to solve full Maxwell equations and carrier transfer equations, providing a detailed thermal model that includes the main solar cell self-heating processes.
Both softwares use the View Factor method to estimate the irradiance on both sides of the bifacial modules. PVsyst and Comsol use different simulation methods, but PVsyst is able to calculate different parameters based on albedo, irradiances and view factors.
The PVsyst software simulates a bifacial PV system by calculating the irradiance of the front and back sides of the panel and the energy produced. Comsol software can run simulations with multiple steps, including input data such as mesh, materials, boundary conditions, and solver settings.
The analysis looked at geographic site parameters, orientation, system configuration, detailed losses, and module layout. The parameters that affect the performance of the photovoltaic system are albedo, slope, distance between panels and height to the ground.
After several simulations, the research team concluded that PVsyst is more straightforward in the calculation after defining the components and installation location. Comsol provides more detailed studies of module performance and accurate thermal analysis.
“With the same simulation method between software, PVSyst gives us a higher value for solar energy production in almost all cases,” it stated.
The academics found that an increase in albedo values, or the distance between modules, increased the production of solar electricity.
“In terms of height, there is somewhat illogical behavior in both software, given that significant production growth was expected, but the result has been minimal,” they said.
They presented their findings “Multiphysics simulation and software comparison of bifacial photovoltaic modules,” published Solar energy.