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IEA-PVPS Task 13: Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems

The Task 13 objective is to improve operation, reliability and, consequently, the electrical and economic output of photovoltaic power systems and subsystems through providing a common platform whereby quality aspects are elaborated and exchanged amongst the stakeholders, and to disseminate this knowledge to the market actors. Given the international nature of the project consortium, the cooperation includes important markets such as Europe, Japan and the USA.

Short Description

As the worldwide application of photovoltaic systems is still growing rapidly - from a niche market in the beginning, to the major renewable energy source of the near future - there is a continued high interest in information on performance and reliability of PV modules and systems. In addition, financial models and their underlying technical assumptions have gained increased interest in the PV industry, with reliability and performance being key parameters used as input in such models.

Most accurate energy yield predictions in different climates as well as information on operational availability of PV systems are vital for investment decisions and, thus, for further market growth. In this context, performance and yield data, reliability statistics and empirical values concerning quality of PV systems are far more relevant today than they used to be in the past. The availability of such information is, however, rather poor.

Within the framework of PVPS, Task 13 engages in focusing the international collaboration in improving the reliability of photovoltaic systems and subsystems by collecting, analyzing and disseminating information on their technical performance and failures, providing a basis for their technical assessment, and developing practical recommendations for improving their electrical and economic output.

Objectives

Address the economic aspects of PV system performance and reliability and to review the current practices for financial modelling of PV investments from the perspectives of technical assumptions used in energy yield calculations, construction (CAPEX) and operation & maintenance (O&M) during the lifetime of the PV system. Provide guidelines on means to account and represent the various uncertainties on these parameters.

Provide available performance data for any kind of decision maker for different PV applications and system locations. This data is evaluated for its applicability and quality in both a quantitative approach, using very large data sets and statistical methods, and a qualitative approach, where evaluations on individual component performances are conducted.

Perform activities on PV module characterization and failure issues in order to gain a comprehensive assessment of PV module conditions in the field. The comprehensive collection and analysis of field data of PV module defects will increasingly become important, as there are indications that a growing number of PV installations world-wide fail to fulfil quality and safety standards.

Disseminate the results of the performance and reliability analyses to target groups in industry and research, financing sector, and the general public. Given the broad, international project consortium, cooperation will include markets such as Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the USA.

Results

The three topical Subtasks reflect the three objectives stated above, the fourth Subtask, dissemination of information, utilize and disseminates the tailored deliverables produced. The comprehensive reports, dealing with the various aspects of performance and reliability of PV-Systems and its components are free available at the IEA PVPS website. As the international task is ongoing, additional reports are in the pipeline for publication in 2017. Preliminary results, and also results of the already finished ones, were presented at various conferences and workshops. See the literature list in this report for reference.

Financial model of PV plants: Technical analyses and assumptions are essential input parameters of the financial modelling.
Financial model of PV plants: Technical analyses and assumptions are essential input parameters of the financial modelling. (From: Jan Vedde (SiCon), 12th Task 13 Meeting, Leoben and Vienna, March 2015.)
Failure modes and failure development of PV modules: Early, midlife and wear out failures, and performance reduction potential.
Failure modes and failure development of PV modules: Early, midlife and wear out failures, and performance reduction potential. (From: Report IEA-PVPS T13-01 Review of failure of PV modules. 2014, 140 p.)

Publications

The following reports and are accessible at the international IEA PVPS website

  • Review of failure of PV modules. 140 p.
  • Characterisation of performance of Thin-Film PV technologies. 69 p.
  • Analytical monitoring of grid-connected photovoltaic systems. 90 p.
  • Analysis of long-term performance of PV systems. 60 p.

Data collection documents are also accessible at the international PVPS Task 13 website:

  • Documentation of module condition (xls-Format)
  • PV-failure survey (xlsm-Format)

IEA PVPS Task 13 Performance-Database

Participants

Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Swizerland, Spain, Thailand, United States of America, and the two international organisations Solarpower Europe and the International Copper Association.

Contact Address

AIT - Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Center for Energy
Karl A. Berger
Giefinggasse 2, 1210 Vienna
E-Mail: karl.berger@ait.ac.at
Web: www.ait.ac.at/en/research-fields/photovoltaics/

PCCL - Polymer Competence Center Leoben
Gernot Oreski
Roseggerstraße 12, 8700 Leoben
E-Mail: Gernot.Oreski@pccl.at
Web: www.pccl.at/en/

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