As part of the IEEE Power Electronics Distinguished Lecture Series, Professor Balog, REAPERlab Director, gave a distinguished lecture on August 11, 2021 entitled “A Smart PV Roof Tile and Non-Planar Photovoltaic Systems” to the IEEE Taipei Section PELS/PES/IES joint chapter.

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 will include results from a recent research project which investigated a smart solar roof tile in the form-factor of the traditional terracotta roof tile.

Dr. Balog thanks Prof. Dr. Katherine Kim of National Taiwan University for the invitation to present.