In the absence of ground reflected radiation measured data, an average albedo value of 0.2, which describes the reflective properties of the bare ground is generally used. The variation of albedo based on different foreground surfaces and under different atmospheric conditions is an area which is under research. This paper presents an experimental investigation of albedos of different foreground materials that can be used for photovoltaic (PV) applications. Overcast skies are predominant in northerly locations and will have a high frequency of low solar altitudes, and thus ground reflection is an important contributor towards total solar energy gain. The foreground surfaces include common materials: Grass, sand, and cement slabs, and some non-conventional materials: White pebbles, white boards, white tiles, and aluminium foil. The impact of factors, such as ageing, solar elevation, rain, and cloud cover (sky conditions) is analysed to determine the changes in albedos of these materials. Each material was observed to have individual performance characteristics under these factors. It was found that the non-conventional materials were least prone to weather-related changes and have higher albedo values as compared to the conventional materials, and also have good potential to replace the conventional materials for any given PV application.
- Solar radiation
- Overcast skies