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Understanding the energy yield of PV modules

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By Markus Schweiger, Markus Schweiger received the diploma in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Munich and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in photovoltaics at the RWTH Aachen University. Since 2009 he has been working as a scientist and project engineer in the Solar Innovation Department at TÜV Rheinland.; Werner Herrmann, Werner Herrmann studied physics at the Technical University of Aachen and holds a PhD in PV power characterisation with solar simulators. Since 1988 he has been working at TÜV Rheinland, and has gained more than 20 years’ experience in developing standards for the PV industry.; Christos Monokroussos, Christos Monokroussos is a technical expert for TÜV Rheinland, where his activities focus on R&D, characterisation of solar cells and PV modules, quality control of measurement systems, standardisation progress and PV module reliability.; Uwe Rau, Uwe Rau studied physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and at Claude Bernard University Lyon, France. He received his diploma in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1991 in physics from the University of Tübingen, and also earned his habilitation degree in experimental physics in 2002 from the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Since 2007 he has been the director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich, and is a professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Module yield | Varying climatic conditions across markets and the individual characteristics of PV technologies undermine accurate predictions of module energy yield using conventional methods. Markus Schweiger, Werner Herrmann, Christos Monokroussos and Uwe Rau describe how a calculation of module performance ratio can be used to accurately assess the efficiency of different PV module technologies in different climates and thus the likely return on investment from a project.

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It wouldn’t be an Intersolar Europe edition of this journal without a look at a solar market closer to home; we touch on the resurgent French solar market which looks set to provide a major source of demand. As module and inverter swap outs are a growing line of work for O&M providers, we also examine the issues that emerge, such as potential induced degradation and exposing the shortcomings of projects built without adequate monitoring capabilities. TUV Rheinland presents a technical paper that could prove to be an investor’s best friend by providing a method to push energy yield performance calculations for modules beyond an extrapolation of their standard test conditions. We also introduce our new conference, PV ModuleTech, to be held in Malaysia this November, dedicated to scrutinising the technical performance claims of manufacturers and seeking out best practice.

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