The solar (PV) system at the Serfontana Shopping Centre in Morbio Inferiore near the Italian border is a pilot project of the young company Voltage Suisse SA. At first glance, the shopping centre seems to be ideally situated with an ideal southerly aspect, but in fact technical and logistical difficulties had to be overcome, including the potential risk that the broad shadow of the shopping centre's tower might significantly reduce the system's energy yield.
A further problem was finding a suitable location for the installation of the inverters and string boxes. The site had to offer top safety and enable fast access in emergencies.
The 73.2 kWp PV system with 244 multicrystalline 300 W Trina Solar TSM-PC14 modules with 72 cells each was designed for a roof space of 474 m². The modules, which are known to be particularly reliable and hard-wearing, were positioned at a setup angle of 15° from the horizontal in a southerly direction. Thanks to the combination of power optimizers at module level and an atypical string arrangement, the negative impact of the tower shadow could be significantly reduced at the same time as maximizing energy production when the panels are fully radiated.
The four 17 kW inverters were positioned on the north side of the installation in aluminium cabinets with ventilation holes to enable natural heat dissipation. The large modules, each with a surface of 2m², enabled cost savings of 20% on the aluminium and steel substructures.