It was my first time attending the photovoltaic specialists conference (PVSC). Having heard that this is one of the best solar conferences, it certainly lived up to my expectations. My participation started a few weeks prior to the start of the conference, as I was selected to be a graduate student assistant (GSA) with the publication team. My job was to make sure that my designated 160 manuscripts adhered to the template specifications.  This activity was a great way to get a sneak peek into the work of many authors. Another great benefit of being the GSA is a free conference registration, a free banquet dinner ticket, and a significant discount on the hotel accommodation.

PVSC-42 is definitely the largest conference I have ever attended with close to 1,000 oral and poster presentations combined. The presentations were divided into eleven subject areas from advanced solar cell structures (area 1) to solar resource measurement and modeling (area 9). Since my research focuses on spectral modeling and measurement of sunlight, I mostly attended area 9 presentations. The most interesting talk I attended was given by Dr. Richard Perez from Atmospheric Sciences Research Center in NY, USA. His talk introduced the latest version of the SUNY satellite model for estimating the direct normal (DNI) and global horizontal irradiances (GHI).  The newest model has reduced the mean bias to within ±2% and± 4% for the GHI and DNI, respectively. This is a considerable improvement over the old model, which had the mean bias for the DNI ranging from -12% to 8%. The importance of Dr. Perez’s work lies in ability to more accurately forecast the DNI and GHI data on global scale with a 1 km resolution. It is critical for solar installations to forecast the amount power to be generated in a specific location. A better understanding of the local solar resource improves the bankability of the proposed system, which in turn leads to more installations.

My oral presentation demonstrated the latest work on the solar spectral irradiance meter (SSIM), the instrument capable of measuring the solar spectrum at a fraction of the cost of the traditional spectroradiometer approaches. This presentation received the “Best Student Paper Award” for Area 3 – high concentration photovoltaic systems. It was an honor for me to represent the University of Ottawa at this conference and win this award. Overall, PVSC-42 was a great conference that I will remember for years to come.

Viktar Tatsianiou
PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa