As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a distinguished keynote presentation on April 9, 2021 entitled “A Smart PV Roof Tile and Non-Planar Photovoltaic Systems” to the IEEE 8th International Conference on Electrical and Electronics Engineering (ICEEE 2021). With the latest advances in photovoltaic material science technology, solar cells can now be curved, conformal coated, and even painted onto arbitrary surface geometries. This facilitates a paradigm shift from the traditional, building-applied, rigid planar modules to non-planar, structurally-integrated photovoltaic systems. PV arrays on curved surfaces enable new concepts for PV applications but also present new challenges for balance-of-system components, electrical interconnections, and power conditioning electronics. Non-uniform insolation across the PV surface complicates maximum power point tracking, which is well-known for planar PV but more complicated when the non-planar morphology inherently introduce the partial shading and thermal variations. Yet, these non-planar surfaces offer opportunities to increase energy harvest and shape the time-of-day generation profile, all while creating an architecturally appealing – even invisible – energy system. This talk presented results from a recent collaboration between Texas A&M University and the Middle East Technical University to develop a smart solar roof tile in the form-factor of the traditional terracotta roof tile.

Dr. Balog wishes to thank Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ali Ozcelik, Chair of the IEEE PELS Turkey Chapter for the invitation to present at the conference.