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This paper presents a set of preliminary calculations to assess the technical feasibility of a lighter than air tethered platform that would be used as a support for a photovoltaic array, in order to harness the solar power at high altitude and transmit it to the ground via the mooring cable. This solution would allow to collect significantly more solar radiation if compared to a traditional ground based photovoltaic array, especially in countries where the solar resource is scarce due to their location and weather conditions. The technical feasibility of the system is preliminarily evaluated with the use of a simplified model, which simulates the response of a tethered spherical balloon to the environmental conditions that can be found during the ascent and at operational altitude. The contribution of the main components (PV array, transmission tether...) to the overall weight of the system and their influence on the total lift are evaluated. On the basis of the results obtained the possibility of introducing additional components to optimize the performance of the system is investigated.
Electrical Power & Energy Conference (EPEC), 2009 IEEE
Date of Conference: 22-23 Oct. 2009