Photovoltaic System Performance

Photovoltaic (PV) systems use photovoltaic cells to directly convert sunlight into electricity. A commercial-scale PV system and four smaller laboratory PV systems were tested at the Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. PV is effective even in four-season climates with cloudy skies. Price should drive PV selection. View full-size infographic. [PDF - 255 KB]

GPG Findings 005, December 2012, Photovoltaic System Performance. Opportunity: How much energy is generated by photovoltaics in GSA buildings? 1% of GSA’s energy comes from solar. Technology: How does PV work? Captures Energy from the sun. Converts 13-19% into electricity. Measurement and Verification: Where did M and V occur? Sandia National Laboratories and New Mexico State University’s college of Engineering assessed performance of 5 PV installations at the Major General Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Results: How did photovoltaics perform in M and V? 8% of site load energy generated from PV. Parity among systems under cloudy skies. 19 year payback. Steady decline in PV cost will further improve payback. Deployment: Where does M and V recommend deploying photovoltaics? PV effective even in diffuse, 4-season climates. Price should drive PV selection. Modeling tools produce accurate simulations for both sunny and cloudy climates. [PDF - 255 KB]

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Last Reviewed: 2021-09-28