Temperature and wavelength dependent measurement and simulation of fresnel lenses for concentrating photovoltaic
Fresnel lenses are often used as primary optical components in concentrating photovoltaics (CPV). When applied in the field, varying conditions during operation lead to variations in lens temperature which has a strong impact on the optical efficiency of the lenses. A setup for indoor characterization with the ability to heat lens plates allows for the assessment of the quality of Fresnel lenses by means of their irradiance profiles in the focal plane. To analyze the measured temperature dependency we simulate thermal deformations of the lens geometry with finite element method (FEM) tools and use the resulting lens geometry as an input to ray tracing simulations. A close match between computer simulations and measurements of the irradiance profile in the focal plane is achieved, validating our simulation approach. This allows us to judge and optimize the temperature dependence of new lens designs before building and testing prototypes. The simulation enables us to analyze and understand all superimposed effects in detail. The developed tools in combination with detailed solar resource data and knowledge of the CPV system will be the basis for future assessment of overall performance and further optimization of optics for CPV applications.