We report on the design and installation of a spectrometer system for monitoring solar radiation in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Both the light intensity and the spectral distribution affect the power produced by a photovoltaic device. Local variations in the solar spectrum (especially compared to the AM1.5 standard) may have important implications for device optimization and energy yield estimation.
The spectrometer system, based on an Ocean Optics USB4000 (300-900nm) spectrometer, was designed to increase functionality. Typically systems only record the global horizontal radiation. Our system moves a fiber-optic cable 0-90 degrees and takes measurements in 9 degree increments. Additionally, a shadow band allows measurement of the diffuse component of the radiation at each position. The electronic controls utilize an Arduino UNO microcontroller to synchronizes the movement of two PAP bipolar (stepper) motors with the activation of the spectrometer via an external trigger. The spectrometer was factory calibrated for wavelength and calibrated for absolute irradiance using a Sellarnet SL1-Cal light source.
We present preliminary results from data taken March-June, 2013, and comment on implications for PV devices in Cochabamba.