Photovoltaic noise barriers (PVNBs)

Photovoltaic noise barriers (PVNBs) are technologies designed to mitigate noise levels, shield receivers from noise pollution generated by road traffic, and produce clean energyTheir structure is composed of a noise barrier system with a photovoltaic (PV) installation that converts sunlight into electricity.

Design and function

The photovoltaic modules can be integrated into the barriers as support elements inside the soundproofing/sound-absorbing panels. The design of the photovoltaic noise barriers (PVNBs) should take into consideration various elements to guarantee optimal performance such as materials, barrier locations, dimensions, local climate, the amount of solar radiation, and the azimuth of the barrier. Photovoltaic noise barriers accomplish two different goals.

First of all, they are designed to lower the level of acoustical energy, which is diffracted or scattered back towards the source. Secondly, the solar cells of the PV modules convert solar energy into electricity, reducing the emission of CO2 without compromising their ability to also reduce noise. The earliest literature on PVNBs evaluated the potential of mitigating air pollution also.

Practitioners working with environmental noise barriers realize that, in many instances where there is an issue of traffic noise, vehicular traffic is also likely to affect views and the visual quality of an area. In many cases, environmental noise barriers offered solutions to both these issues. The concerns around the world regarding air pollution now indicate that environmental noise barriers have an additional function in the potential for their use in reducing air pollution from roads. It is likely in the following years, as techniques and technologies progress, that the function of reducing air pollution will become increasingly important. Barrier design will thus have to accommodate three major drivers: noise reduction, the visual screening of traffic, and also the reduction of air pollution. (Environmental Noise Barriers: A Guide To Their Acoustic and Visual Design)

Solar efficiency

The literature (Van der Borg and Jansen 2001) has shown that dust can reduce the solar performance of the PV modules. Total or partial shading conditions have a significant impact rate on the capability of delivering energy and may result in lower output and power losses.

For the calculation of the energy production of a photovoltaic installation, it is essential to know the solar irradiation in the plane corresponding to the installation and the solar path in the place at the different times of the year. The performance of photovoltaic panels is influenced by their orientation and tilt (inclination), which affects the amount of producible energy. The road orientation plays a key role in deciding the noise barrier orientation. At the present moment, bifacial PV technology is an optimal solution as shows the ability to produce solar power in any orientation.

The climatic condition and geographical location of the PV modules play an important role in choosing the right tilt angle for high energy production. The literature says that a 30° PV panel tilt position and east-west orientation is optimal to guarantee the best performance. (Wadhawan and Pearce 2017).

archelios™ Pro: a unique photovoltaic software solution

PV Noise barrier can be simulated by archelios™ Pro, the powerful, innovative, and easy-to-use software for feasibility and bankability study, simulation, 3D design, and sizing of any photovoltaic project. Thanks to its export function, it allows this design to be used in the following stages of the project life cycle with archelios™ Calc for electrical sizing and archelios™ O&M for supervision. It is possible to export a project to AutoCAD (.DXF) for the layout and to MS Excel (.CSV) for the description of the installation and the simulation results.

The software includes several automation key features that simplify and improve the accuracy of the whole process. In addition, each software edition has been conceived with the size of the PV project in mind and comes with features and benefits tailored to the specific requirement of the activity.

archelios™ Pro Free: projects design up to 36 kWp

archelios™ Pro Silver: projects design up to 100 kWp

archelios™ Pro Gold: projects design up to 1 MWp

archelios™ Pro Platinum: ultra-sophisticated software for any type of PV project

Would you like to start trying the FREE version of archelios™ Pro?

Trace Software International

Trace Software International is part of Group Trace, bound together by the common mission of delivering excellence in construction and energy solutions. The group is also formed by BIM&CO – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of digital product data for the construction industry, Green Systèmes whose main mission is to optimize the energy performance of buildings and equipment, Trace Parts– one of the world’s leading providers of 3D digital content for Engineering and Cythelia, manufacturer of software for the PV market. Trace Software International has subsidiaries in France, Spain, Morocco, Germany, China, Brazil, and the USA apart from a worldwide presence via distributors or authorized partners.


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