Bifacial photovoltaic and TriFactors, a modelling and simulation tool for new power plants

Published on 08/19/2021

The CEA teams at INES have developed TriFactors, a modelling and simulation tool for power plants composed of bifacial photovoltaic panels.

Thanks to its 3D form factor approach, the tool makes it possible to calculate the direct current production and to quantify the edge effects of PV power plants, which is not possible with the classic tools on the market. It has been developed and validated on our test benches, and has passed the test of several real cases of large power plants while keeping its major assets during this scaling up: a reasonable calculation time, the taking into account of edge effects, and the ability to handle the simulation of power plants with unusual characteristics.

TriFactors allows the simulation of new and/or complex plant architectures such as, for instance, vertical bifacial plants for agricultural applications. It has been designed and developed to quantify the impact of certain plant design factors such as inclination, height, and module orientation, as well as the distance between rows and the impact of albedo on the plant's electricity production.

In order to further fine-tune the precision of the simulation, this new tool will integrate in the coming months new factors such as the impact of the shade induced by the installation structure on the rear side, and that of the topology of the terrain. It will also in the future allow for DC/AC conversion.

TriFactors is a tool developed by the CEA. It is now at the heart of developments and studies carried out within the framework of the ITE INES.2S and European projects.

Credits: Next2Sun
Vertical bifacial power plant for agricultural applications built by Next2Sun in Germany

Launched in 2019, INES.2S is an energy transition institute (ITE). Carried by the CEA at INES, its mission is to develop in France an industrial sector of the integration of photovoltaic solar energy, in support of the law of Multiannual Programming of Energy.  The ITE INES.2S is co-financed by the French government under the Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-10-IEED-0014-01).

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