Currently, a vast amount of research institutions and organizations are focusing on ways to improve the operation, reliability and consequently the output of PV systems.An important aspect yet to be targeted remains the procedural and standardized approach to calculate accurately the degradation rate of operating PV systems, while considering also additional factors which affect the power output, such as seasonal performance variations, soiling, shading, increasing electrical mismatch, faults and failures of modules or other system components. Even more challenging and yet not addressed is the approach to estimate degradation rates of operating systems in real-time at early stages.

In addition, identification of degradation and failure modes at preliminary stages is equally important as these mechanisms directly influence the performance, lifetime and reliability of PV technology. Failure and degradation mechanism diagnosis is becoming increasingly important to the PV community mainly because new manufacturing techniques and technologies, in the scope to reduce PV module price, are entering the global market and also because new degradation modes such as PID are nowadays observed. In particular, PID is caused mainly due to the HV stress experienced in a PV module between the cells and ground potential at the frame and although many module manufacturers are advertising PID free modules, the nature and physical factors associated with PID remain unsolved.

PV-EXPERT is a project with ultimate goal the development of a novel PV performance monitoring system equipped with various advanced monitoring algorithms that enable reliable degradation rate estimation at the early-stage of operation of the PV systems, ensuring thus good quality installations to be ensured.

The project started in September 2015, and is scheduled to run for 24 months. It is co-financed by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Regional Development Fund of the EU by Bilateral Cooperation Cyprus – Israel with grant number ΔΙΑΚΡΑΤΙΚΕΣ/ΚΥ-ΙΣΡ/0114/13.

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