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Understanding module degradation in utility-scale PV plants

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By Agustin Carretero, Skytron Energy GmbH

Power loss | The highly accurate module efficiency certified by accredited laboratories right after module production is at odds with the very rough estimate of the module’s long-term efficiency stated by the manufacturer for its expected lifetime, through a commonly accepted and industry-standard power warranty. Agustin Carretero of skytron energy presents an innovative method for calculating module degradation by using string-monitoring systems, and compares the results obtained for a case study with the module manufacturer’s power warranty statement.

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For those in the utility solar business, 2015 has so far offered no shortage of landmarks. Since the start of the year, the record for the world’s largest PV power plant has been both equalled and beaten, with the completion in the US of the Desert Sunlight and Solar Star projects respectively. The industry has also notched up two important pricing milestones. In January 2015, news broke that a project in Dubai had attracted what was thought to be the lowest ever bid price for a solar project, of US$0.0585/kWh. That record proved short lived, however, when, in July, US firm First Solar revealed it had agreed to a price of US$0.0387/kWh for power from its 100MW Playa Solar 2 project in Nevada.

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