Photovoltaic System Performance

Photovoltaic Systems use photovoltaic cells to directly convert sunlight into electricity. This was tested on a commercial-scale system and four smaller laboratory systems at the Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. All solar panels worked just as well in the cloudy, Midwestern climate as they do in other parts of the country. The study also found that the return on investment was within the lifespan of the technology. 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: 2021-05-21