Simulation and experimental validation of solar radiation distribution on the absorber of a line-axis asymmetric compound parabolic concentrator

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This paper reports the development and application of a new practical photovoltaic (PV) cells based device to measure the solar radiation flux produced by non-imaging Compound Parabolic Concentrators (CPCs) on cylindrical absorbers. The flexible experimental device comprises 12 discrete miniature PV panels that measure solar radiation on the surface of a cylindrical absorber. The device has been used to evaluate the performance of an asymmetric CPC system and results validated with a computer-based Ray Tracing Model. The study attained significant agreement between outdoor results of the experimental device and results of the ray tracing simulation with a difference of <9% in optical efficiencies. The non-imaging reflector illuminates a targeted section of the absorber of a horizontal east-west thermal diode Integrated Collector Storage Solar Water Heater. During outdoor testing, the experiments indicated a local concentration ratio reaching 1.4 suns on the targeted section of the absorber vessel surface for incidence angles -30 °≤θ i≤30 °, confirming technical suitability of the asymmetric CPC for deployment in locations at equatorial latitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-52
Number of pages17
JournalSolar Energy
Early online date23 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was financially supported through an International Studentship provided by the Department for Education (DfE), Northern Ireland, UK. The work also benefitted from funding support from SolaForm Ltd and was undertaken in tandem with the SolaFin2Go project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ( EP/R035954/1 ) and Innovate UK Energy Catalyst Round 5 ( IUK/133219 ). The author thanks Busitema University for the study leave and Mr. Edoardo Cao for assisting with terminal soldering of the PV cells.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Solar cogeneration
  • Flux distribution
  • CPC
  • optical efficiency
  • PV cells
  • ray tracing


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