Big data under the microscope

By Catherine Early

The term “big data” has recently become something of a buzzword in PV circles. But how are companies using this data and is it generating useful intelligence or merely information overload? Catherine Early reports

Study on measurement of temperature coefficient of different types of PV modules in outdoor operating conditions in India

By Rajesh Kumar; Gaurav Mishra; Rakshita Mhatre; Satish Pandey

Temperature coefficient has a well-known bearing on the performance of PV modules. Based on analysis of field data gathered from operational modules in India, Satish Pandey, Rajesh Dhuriya, Gaurav Mishra and Rakshita Mhatre reveal how in actual operating conditions the temperature coefficient of modules is deviating from values provided in manufacturer datasheets, potentially impacting on project financial modelling.

On-site PID testing

By Dr Volker Naumann; Dr Nadine Schüler; Dr Christian Hagendorf

Potential-induced degradation (PID) is still one of the main reasons for unpredictable power losses in PV power plants. Volker Naumann, Nadine Schüler and Christian Hagendorf of Fraunhofer CSP and Freiberg Instruments present an approach for quick on-site PID testing of mounted PV modules, allowing PID diagnosis and prognosis of PID-related yield losses

The Most Efficient and Adaptable Solution Design for Bifacial Modules

Leading PV inverter manufacturer Huawei discusses recent technical developments to a better understanding of bifacial solar module PV power plants, using three recent case studies. These efficient PV modules need to be used with devices such as inverters to maximize value. Recently, many inverters and solutions that match bifacial modules have appeared in the industry. Which solution is the best match for bifacial modules? Based on a large amount of experimental data, this article describes the solution needed for bifacial modules.

End of warranty inspections in solar PV power plants

By Romain Elsair; Marcos Blanco

Examining a PV power plant to ascertain its health is a key measure when warranties for components expire. Romain Elsair and Marcos Blanco of Greensolver outline some of the main steps involved in effective end of warranty inspections

Towards a standardised contract for solar O&M

By Sara Verbruggen

In April an international working group will publish a bundle of standardised contracts aimed at aiding the rollout of PV worldwide. Sara Verbruggen previews the template contract for solar O&M and assesses its impact in streamlining this aspect of the business

Mobile PV testing in India

By Satish Pandey

With India going all out to achieve its target of 100GW of PV by the year 2022, the quality of equipment used in installations is becoming increasingly important. Satish Pandey and Abhishek Sharma of Mahindra Susten explore the role of on-site testing in quality control, based on the early results from India’s first mobile PV lab

Failure assessments of PV systems demonstrate the importance of elective quality assurance

By Dipl. Ing. Annett Sepanski; Dipl. Ing. Uwe Hupach; Dipl. Ing. Willi Vaaßen; Dipl. Phys. Jörg Schmauder; Prof. Dr. Ansgar Steland; Thomas C. Sauer heads; Dipl. soc.sc., Dipl. ec. Georg Fischer; Dr. Andreas Sommer; M.Sc. E. Sovetkin

In a four-year project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, a consortium of German experts assessed the quality of actual PV power installations. The researchers now report on how the effects of several common module failures on module and string performance highlight the importance of consistent quality assurance to prevent risks to financial success

Detecting cell cracks and other PV module failures with UV fluorescence

By Arnaud Morlier, Arnaud Morlier received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis in 2006 and 2008 and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France in 2011.; Michael Siebert, Michael Siebert achieved a B.Sc. in mechatronics from the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe in 2009.; Marc Köntges, Marc Köntges received his PhD degree in physics 2002 at the University of Oldenburg on characterisation of CuInGaSe2 and CdTe thin film solar cells.; Iris Kunze, Iris Kunze achieved her training as chemical technical assistant at the Hannover School for chemistry and pharmacy.; Susanne Blankemeyer, Susanne Blankemeyer was with Krane-Optik, Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, until 1986, where she was trained as an Optician. From 1999 to 2007, she was a Laboratory Assistant with the R&D Department of Orbotech, a manufacturer of automated optical inspection systems, in Bad Pyrmont, Germany.; Gerhard Mathiak, Gerhard Mathiak studied physics at Technical University Braunschweig and has a PhD in engineering from Technical University Berlin.

Module failure | Defective modules causing power losses in PV systems need to be easily detected with a rapid and cost-effective inspection method. Researchers from Institute for Solar Energy. Research in Hamelin (ISFH) explain how UV fluorescence of module encapsulation polymers is used for the fast detection of module failures under daylight conditions without disconnection, allowing the inspection of up to 200 modules in an hour during daytime.

Digital O&M opportunities in a water-scarce India

Operations and maintenance | India’s solar industry has been focused on reaching a hugely ambitious target of 100GW of PV by 2022. But as Tom Kenning reports, the need to get smart on managing and maintaining solar assets is now becoming an overriding priority

Towards accurate PV power forecasting

By José A Ruiz-Arias, José A Ruiz-Arias is weather and solar radiation expert in Solargis. He provides support to clients and develops models to assess and forecast solar radiation.

Forecasting | Predicting the power production of a PV plant offers a multitude of benefits to plant owners and grid operators. Jose Ruiz-Arias looks at the challenges of accurate forecasting across different timescales and in different climate zonesForecasting | Predicting the power production of a PV plant offers a multitude of benefits to plant owners and grid operators. Jose Ruiz-Arias looks at the challenges of accurate forecasting across different timescales and in different climate zones.

Solar life-cycle management: Is the spectre of lost returns holding solar energy back?

By Mark Skidmore, Mark Skidmore has over 14 years’ experience in the solar industry, and over 18 years’ experience in the construction contracting industry.; Samantha Doshi, Samantha Doshi has over five years’ experience in the areas of PV module certification, laboratory module and component testing, and field performance and failure analysis.; Matthias Heinze, Matthias Heinze is the director of business development at TÜV Rheinland, and has several decades’ experience in the areas of PV plant qualification and monitoring, laboratory module and component testing, performance measurement and failure analysis.; Christos Monokroussos, Christos Monokroussos received his doctorate in photovoltaics from Loughborough University, UK, and has 10 years’ experience in PV research.

Data | The collection of inaccurate data at any point in the life cycle of a solar plant will undermine almost every aspect of the investment accounting. Mark Skidmore, Samantha Doshi, Matthia Heinze and Christos Monokroussos from TÜV Rheinland discuss the importance of precision data gathering in mitigating risk for builders, operators and financiers

IEC 61724-1: what’s it all about?

By William Beuttell, William Beuttell has been an application engineer for EKO Instruments for two years. Prior to that was an application engineer with Campbell Scientific. He is focused on R&D as well as software development efforts for EKO Instruments especially in the USA, as well as providing technical support to the EKO Instruments customers in North America. His interests include developing new sensors for improving aerosol monitoring networks as well as developing software to add value to the current EKO instruments product line.

System monitoring | The international standard guiding the monitoring of PV systems has been revised to include greater emphasis on accuracy. Will Beuttell of EKO Instruments explains some of the key aspects of the revised standard and how it will help satisfy the maturing PV industry’s appetite for better quality data on plant performance.