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Solar Panel Arch

Traditionally, solar panel arrays are flat, and are aligned so that they face the southern direction to achieve maximum sun light exposure. An alternative to flat solar panel arrays are arched solar panel arrays which can track the path of the sun throughout the day.

Solar Panel Arch Structure

The arched solar panel array shown below consists of six sections which are sloped 18 degrees relative to each other. Each section contains 4 Mitsubishi PV-MLU250HC solar panels, for a total of 24 solar panels. The width of this array is 18 ft 4 in, and the height is 8 ft 10 in.

Solar Panel Arch vs Flat Solar Panels Power Curve Comparisons

The plot below shows power output comparisons between flat vs arched solar panel arrays. The red curve shows the power output of a flat solar panel array, and the green curve shows the power output of the arched solar panel array shown above. Both the arched and flat solar panel arrays contain 24 Mitsubishi PV-MLU250HC solar panels. Both of these solar panel arrays are located at 30.37 degrees north latitude on June 21 (summer solstice). Note the similarities in the power output curves for the flat and arched solar panel assemblies.

Electric Car Charging Stations

The picture below shows a practical use for arched solar panel arrays. These structures keep electric cars cool during the day and provides power for recharging the cars batteries.

The arched solar palel arrays offer the advantage of a more consistent power source as well as accomodating vehicles of different heights.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Although the mean total annual radiation is lower for arch solar panel arrays compared to flat solar panel arrays, the arch array has two advantages. 1. A much more even distribution of solar radiation on the solar panels could guarantee a stable high efficiency of the BIPV system. 2. The arch solar panel array can produce a more attractive appearance for the building.