Photovoltaic solar power – the reliable future energy source

Part of Today in the Lab - Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.


What is the aim of this project?

This project provides a unique global platform to assess technical factors that affect the quality, performance and reliability of photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems in a wide variety of environments and applications. By collecting data from all project participants, the project tests and compares methods for analysing data about PV performance and loss rates as well as operation and monitoring.

How could this technology be explained to a high school student?

The focus of this project is to create analytical tools to assess the quality and durability of the components of photovoltaic solar power systems. These tools will make it possible to review the performance of these systems and identify ways to improve them.

What is the value of this project for society?

  • provides up-to-date information on PV performance and reliability
  • helps to identify technology requirements and ensure quality assurance
  • ensures that PV systems are resilient.

At what stage of development is this project?

The project began in 2018 and is expected to run until 2021. So far the project has undertaken research into new PV module concepts for components such as materials, encapsulants, backsheets, metallisation and cell interconnections. In addition, information is being collected about unique characterisation challenges for new PV system designs and configurations, including PV with integrated energy storage, AC modules with integrated inverters, agricultural PV and floating PV. The project is also focusing on assessment of performance loss rates (PLR), with a large international participation in a benchmarking exercise using several datasets from different climates and technologies, including datasets generated from digital power plant models where the PLR value is known. Several major reports have been published since 2018 with more scheduled for 2020-21.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • considering PV as a major power source in the power system
  • developing relevant performance and reliability standards
  • developing appropriate grid connection codes (technical requirements) for PV.

Aerial photograph of a large PV power system in France using drones for operation and maintenance inspections. Photo: Courtesy of CEA-INES.


Partners

  • TÜV Rheinland Energy GmbH,Germany
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE
  • VDE Renewables GmbH, Germany
  • More than 40 research  and industry organisations

Funders

PVPS members: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United States.


About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Photovoltaic Power Systems (PVPS TCP)

Established in 1993, the PVPS TCP supports international collaborative efforts to enhance the role of photovoltaic solar energy as a cornerstone in the transition to sustainable energy systems. The PVPS TCP seeks to serve as a global reference for policy and industry decision makers; to act as an impartial and reliable source of information on trends, markets and costs; and to provide meaningful guidelines and recommended practices for state-of-the-art PV applications.

Contact: mary.brunisholz@netenergy.ch