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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 610173, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/610173
Research Article

Solar Divergence Collimators for Optical Characterisation of Solar Components

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, National Institute of Optics INO, Largo E. Fermi 6, 50125 Firenze, Italy

Received 14 November 2012; Accepted 21 December 2012

Academic Editor: Ho Chang

Copyright © 2013 D. Fontani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Experimentation and laboratory optical tests on solar components are central aspects of the research on renewable energies. The key element of the proposed testing systems is a solar divergence collimator, which exactly reproduces in laboratory the sunlight divergence, while commercial solar simulators are mainly aimed to replicate intensity and spectrum of the sun. Precise solar divergence reproduction is essential to correctly assess the optical properties and to simulate the operative conditions of a solar collecting device. Optical characterisation and experimentation can give information about production quality and homogeneity; moreover, specific tests can address the serial production of solar components detecting defects type and location. For Concentrating Photovoltaic systems, appropriate tests can analyze solar concentrators of various shapes, dimensions, and collection features. Typically, to characterise a solar component the most important and commonly examined quantities are collection efficiency, image plane analysis, and angle dependence.