UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Performance and value of geometric solar arrays subject to cyclical electricity prices and high solar penetration Boivin, Adrian Benoit Gordon


The shift away from fossil-fuel-based electricity generation due to environmental concerns has raised substantial interest in photovoltaic generation. However, the intermittent nature of photovoltaic generation has raised significant concerns when it is implemented at high penetration levels. As the production of photovoltaic electricity is based on the sun’s position and weather conditions, rather than electricity demand, large amounts of photovoltaic generation can lead to dramatically fluctuating electricity prices and electrical grid instability. This work examines the optimization of solar generating arrays using a value-based metric, in order to maximize the profit obtained rather than maximizing the power generated as is traditionally done. Such an optimization can serve to reduce the negative societal effects of high photovoltaic penetration while increasing the economic benefits of the array. This optimization is applied here to geometric solar arrays, being simple, infinitely tileable geometric arrangements of square crystalline silicon solar cells. The optimal configuration under present conditions in southern California is found to be rows of solar cells facing 15° west of south, angled at 21° above horizontal, and with a spacing between rows equal to 136% of the height of the rows. While this work does not provide sufficient investigation into the long-term trends of value-based metrics to provide a recommendation for new photovoltaic installations, it strongly supports the use of such metrics for analysis and sets a base for the additional research necessary to incorporate them optimally into future design work.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International