Experimental Characterization of the Optical Performance of Concentrating Photovoltaic Glazing (CoPVG) Systems

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An experiment was conducted to test the optical efficiency of the lenses of the Concentrating Photovoltaic Glazing (CoPVG) concept. The CoPVG is a seasonal glazing system consisting of longitudinal prismatic lenses. The lenses concentrate sunlight onto the focus where Photovoltaic (PV) cells are bonded, generating electricity while simultaneously preventing excessive glare indoors during summer. The system transmits sunlight for daylight purposes in winter. The experimental results were compared with an analytical model developed at Ulster University. Although there were discrepancies between the model and the experimental results, the model can still predict the optical performance of the lenses reliably, and can therefore still provide an overview of the concept’s optical performance. The model was then used to create a visual representation of the glazing’s annual optical performance, demonstrating how the glazing responds to changes in the sun’s position in the sky throughout the year. This analysis allows for balancing the need for natural lighting and energy generation, and so enables designers to evaluate annual optical performance of the CoPVG lens quickly and accurately. A case study of a building in Belfast is presented to demonstrate the application of the model. As an example, the results indicate that utilizing the lenses in glazing towards the south leads to a shift in its performance from room lighting to shading on 1st April, and vice versa on 15 September. The analyses also show that utilizing the CoPVG lenses can potentially enhance the electrical output power of the glazing ranging between 5% and 8% and from 46% up to 52% during winter and summer, respectively, compared with traditional Semi-Transparent Photovoltaic (STPV) glazing with the same opaque area percentage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2891
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarships (VCRS) and the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) reference number A1109.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • concentrating
  • photovoltaic
  • glazing
  • optical efficiency
  • ray tracing
  • BIPV
  • STPV
  • CoPVG
  • multifunction facade
  • energy efficient facade


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