Fraunhofer PV Durability Initiative for solar modules: Part 3

By Dr Cordula Schmid, Fraunhofer CSE ; Rubina Singh, Fraunhofer CSE ; Cameron Stark, Fraunhofer CSE ; Dr Jacqueline Ashmore, Fraunhofer CSE ; Claudio Ferrara, Fraunhofer CSE ; Sandor Stecklum , Fraunhofer CSE

Module performance | The potential for PV modules to fail before the end of their intended service life increases the perceived risk, and therefore the cost, of funding PV installations. While current IEC and UL certification testing standards for PV modules have helped to reduce the risk of early field (infant mortality) failures, they are by themselves insufficient for determining PV module service life. In this paper, teams from Fraunhofer CSE and Fraunhofer ISE present the results of the Fraunhofer PV Durability Initiative’s third round of testing, which now includes 10 module types.

Minimising risk from plant performance defects

By Willi Vaaßen, Director of the Global Competence Centre for PV Power Plants

Plant defects | To ensure profitability in PV power plant investments it is crucial to minimise operation risks in the early stages of project development and during planning, installation and commissioning. Potential performance losses and the economic risks due to failures in plant design, employed components and construction must be considered, as Willi Vaaßen of TÜV Rheinland explains.

Inspection of PV plants using drone-mounted thermography

By Dr. Claudia Buerhop- Lutz, Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern) in Erlangen, Germany

Plant inspection | Infrared cameras mounted on drones offer a means of detecting instances of equipment malfunction in PV power plants. Claudia Buerhop-Lutz explains some of the faults such an approach can help reveal.

Rise of the machines

By Tom Kenning, Reporter

Aerial monitoring | With PV projects growing larger and fleets more dispersed, new technologies are emerging to assist plant managers look after their assets. Tom Kenning looks at the growing use of solar drones and robots in plant operations.

Cleaning is the key!

By Klaus Friedl

As early as 2010, Phoenix Solar along with Saudi Aramco installed the first of three PV test facilities in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, putting four different module technologies (monocrystalline, amorphous-microcrystalline, CdTe and CIS) to the test in extreme climatic conditions. Klaus Friedl of Phoenix Solar LLC shares some hints and lessons learned from the tests.

Novel systems for PV system monitoring

By Joshua Stein; Mike Green

Maximising production from a PV system is critical, since nearly all of the investment is made prior to system activation. Monitoring of PV systems allows operators to identify any performance or safety problems early so that they can be repaired quickly, thus minimising energy losses. Joshua Stein of Sandia National Laboratories and Mike Green of M.G. Lightning Electrical Engineering discuss some new monitoring strategies that are necessary for expeditiously identifying and locating system faults.

The evolution of O&M

By Sara Ver-Bruggen

The effective operation and maintenance of large PV power plants is critical to ensuring these facilities perform optimally. Sara Ver-Bruggen looks at the latest O&M technologies and strategies emerging as plant owners seek to maximise their investment returns.

Novel strategies for PV system monitoring

By Joshua Stein; Mike Green

Maximising production from a PV system is critical, since nearly all of the investment is made prior to system activation. Monitoring of PV systems allows operators to identify any performance or safety problems early so that they can be repaired quickly, thus minimising energy losses. Joshua Stein of Sandia National Laboratories and Mike Green of M.G. Lightning Electrical Engineering discuss some new monitoring strategies that are necessary for expeditiously identifying and locating system faults.

Performance and reliability of tracker and fixed-tilt mounting systems

By Zhang Lan Jun; Gong Tie Yu

Fixed and tracker solar mounting systems offer various relative cost and performance benefits. But as JA Solar’s Zhang Lan Jun and Gong Tie Yu describe, surprising results from field analysis of different systems used in China hold important lessons for developers wondering which ones to choose.

Monitor this

By Ben Willis

Investors are looking for steady and predictable returns from their PV plant assets. Ben Willis charts the rise of monitoring technology and how it is becoming an increasingly indispensable part of the PV equation.

Tackling solar’s dust problem

By Dmytro Podolskyy

The build-up of dust and other particles on PV modules can impact on the efficiency of a power plant. Understanding how soiling can vary in different regions of the world is crucial in maximising plant performance, writes Dmytro Podolskyy.