Comparison of the indoor performance of 12 commercial PV products by a simple model

Georgia Apostolou, Angelina H.M.E. Reinders, Martin Verwaal

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This article presents a simple comparative model which has been developed for the estimation of the performance of photovoltaic (PV) products' cells in indoor environments. The model predicts the performance of PV solar cells, as a function of the distance from a spectrum of artificial (fluorescent light, halogen light, and light-emitting diodes) and natural light. It intends to support designers, while creating PV-integrated products for indoor use. For the model's validation, PV cells of 12 commercially available PV-powered products with power ranging from 0.8 to 4 mWp were tested indoors under artificial illumination and natural light. The model is based on the physical measurements of natural and artificial irradiance indoors, along with literature data of PV technologies under low irradiance conditions. The input data of the model are the surface of the solar cell (in m2), the wavelength-dependent spectral response (SR) of the PV cell, the spectral irradiance indoors, and solar cell's distance from light sources. The model calculates solar cells' efficiency and power produced under the specific indoor conditions. If using the measured SR of a PV cell and the irradiance as measured indoors, the model can predict the performance of a PV product under mixed indoor light with a typical inaccuracy of around 25%, which is sufficient for a design process. Measurements revealed that under mixed indoor lighting of around 20 W/m2, the efficiency of solar cells in 12 commercially available PV products ranges between 5% and 6% for amorphous silicon (a-Si) cells, 4–6% for multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) cells, and 5–7% for the monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
JournalEnergy science & engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Indoor
  • Irradiance
  • Modeling
  • Performance
  • PV cells
  • PV products


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