Advanced Photovoltaics Research and Testing for Improved Technologies

Research into renewable energy sources (RES) is a top priority of the EU. Photovoltaic (PV) systems are expected to play a vital role in meeting RES electricity production targets in the EU, and particularly in countries with high irradiance resources such as Cyprus. This project brings together a world-class consortium of leading institutions in the field of PV to conduct advanced and much-needed research into the lifetime output and reliability of modern PV energy systems.

About

Research into renewable energy sources (RES) is a top priority of the EU. Photovoltaic (PV) systems are expected to play a vital role in meeting RES electricity production targets in the EU, and particularly in countries with high irradiance resources such as Cyprus. This project brings together a world-class consortium of leading institutions in the field of PV to conduct advanced and much-needed research into the lifetime output and reliability of modern PV energy systems. The proposed upgrades and substantial expertise and knowhow of the consortium provide strong support for the success of this endeavour.

The project proposes to study the real outdoor performance of a number of crystalline, thin-film and concentrator PV (CPV) systems. Outdoor testing of a variety of PV technologies at the state-of-the-art University of Cyprus (UCY) PV park is already producing valuable information. However, a full performance analysis requires standardized laboratory tests against control modules to quantify the output degradation that occurs due to long-term environmental exposure. A key project objective is therefore to upgrade the existing UCY infrastructure to include high-quality facilities for indoor testing to IEC standards 61215 for crystalline PV, 61646 for thin-film PV, and 62108 for CPV. The main activities of the project are: upgrading the current infrastructure in collaboration with the experienced partner institutions; creating a fully-trained, multidisciplinary team of researchers to staff the laboratory and maintain a critical mass of personnel, ensuring continuity of operation; obtaining long-term outdoor performance data from the PV systems at the site; performing standardized tests upon these PV modules and their controls; developing advanced indoor test and rating methodologies for new PV technologies in collaboration with other research institutions. The major outcomes will be: a world-class facility in Cyprus for testing PV technologies to appropriate IEC standards and implementing ISO 17025:2005; a better understanding of the performance and reliability of PV systems under environmental conditions found in Cyprus, with general implications for the various technologies; improved testing and rating methodologies for CPV. Through the project, Cyprus will benefit from exploiting the urgent need for high quality laboratories in this field. This facility will make important contributions to the field of energy research and by providing wide access to such an infrastructure, both Cypriot and EU researchers will benefit from the investment. This will place Cyprus on the map of energy research, and further EU funding will be attracted by future projects emanating from this, creating opportunities for SMEs and skilled staff at the same time. It is estimated that by 2020 solar electricity could be provided to more than 1 billion people worldwide, creating more than 2 million jobs. This is clearly an area that Cyprus should have a direct involvement in.

The project was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and by the Republic of Cyprus with grant number ΑΝΑΒΑΘΜΙΣΗ/ΠΑΓΙΟ/0308/21.

CY logo EU logo RPF logo Structural Funds logo

Work package summary

Technology surveys and infrastructure upgrade

  • A survey of the particular requirements and dimensions of contemporary PV systems will be conducted, to help establish the specifications of the equipment to be purchased. This will therefore include general trends in sizes, technologies, and materials of present PV technologies. In addition, a foresight study into new and emerging PV systems will be undertaken, in order to better understand the requirements of future and emerging standards, particularly in the case of CPV and BIPV systems. This package will aim to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to deal adequately with these future demands.
    Deliverables: D5, D6

 


Research personnel orientation and training

  • This Work package deals with the establishment of a critical mass of well-trained senior researchers and technical staff to ensure continuous operation. Researchers will receive on-the-job training from project partners with experience in the field of testing PV systems to IEC standards. Once their training is complete, they will return to the UCY infrastructure, where they will be involved in setting up the new equipment, performing calibration and commissioning, and assisting in the training of management. Finally, the organizational and administrative structure will be put in place in close collaboration with the project partners.

 


Long-term outdoor PV performance monitoring and evaluation

  • The upgraded outdoor facilities will be employed to perform long-term outdoor monitoring and performance characterization of crystalline, thin-film and concentrator PV systems. The inclusion of spectral irradiation and atmospheric pressure data in addition to other environmental data will be of particular value for the evaluation of the CPV and thin-film systems. This will provide valuable information as to the lifetime output of these systems.
    Deliverables: D11, D12

 


Standardised laboratory photovoltaic performance evaluation

  • Standardized laboratory tests will be performed upon the modules undergoing long-term outdoor performance monitoring. Selected modules will be removed from the outdoor test site to the laboratory, where they will undergo testing to procedures 10.2 for IEC standards 61215, 61646 and 62108 (and 10.6 for IEC 61215). This opportunity for developing experience and familiarization with the test procedures and quality management of the test site will form part of the personnel training.
    Deliverables: D13, D14

 


Advanced development and evaluation of CPV performance

  • This work package will concern the development of CPV test and rating methodologies, and examine the performance and reliability of optical and tracking systems of two CPV systems already in place under long-term outdoor exposure. The upgraded infrastructure will be used to perform previously unfeasible accelerated weathering procedures upon CPV modules and receivers, in order to compare the results with the outdoor equipment operating under real environmental conditions. The above research tasks and personnel training will be undertaken in close collaboration with our partners in order to utilize their significant expertise in the field of PV testing and research
    Deliverables: D15, D16, D17

 


Dissemination & Exploitation of Results

  • Scientific findings related to the state-of-the-art in PV test protocols and results emanating from this work will be disseminated. The UCY will present a number of educational lectures and workshops to students and interested bodies covering the work carried out at the laboratories, and will invite lectures from distinguished guests at the University on the subject. Dissemination will also take the form of organized conferences and workshops between the project partners to share insight and experience of running such PV test laboratories. This work package plays an important role in alerting local stakeholders and the public to the results of the work, and thus ensures quality in systems that are available on the market.

 


Partners

UCY logo

Project Coordinator:
University of Cyprus, Photovoltaic Technology Laboratory


IPV logo

University of Stuttgart, Institute for Photovoltaics [IPV]


UB logo

University of Loughborough, CREST


AIT logo

Austrian Institute of Technology [AIT]


CERA logo

Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES)


Latest Results

Publications

  • Voltage and light bias dependent quantum efficiency measurements of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple junction devices
V. Paraskeva, M. Norton, M. Hadjipanayi, G. E. Georghiou
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, vol. 116, pp.55-60, 2013
pdfDownload paper
  • Photovoltaic model uncertainties based on field measurements
G. Makrides, B. Zinsser, A. Phinikarides, G. E. Georghiou and M. Schubert
37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, pp 1-6, 2011.
pdfDownload paper
  • Performance of Photovoltaics under Actual Operating Conditions
G. Makrides, B. Zinsser, M. Norton, M. Schubert, G. Georghiou
INTECH (2012), Third Generation Photovoltaics; pp. 201-232, 2012.
pdfDownload paper
  • Temperature and thermal annealing effects on different photovoltaic technologies
G. Makrides, B. Zinsser, A. Phinikarides, M. Schubert, G. E. Georghiou
Renewable Energy, vol. 43, pp. 407-417, 2012.
pdfDownload paper
  • Energy yield prediction errors and uncertainties of different photovoltaic models
G. Makrides, B. Zinsser, M. Schubert, G. E. Georghiou
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 2011.
pdfDownload paper

Dissemination

Activities

A. Lectures and Seminars

Various invited seminars were organized at the University of Cyprus in the duration of the project:

  • Dr. M. Schubert gave a lecture on the 13/10/10 titled “Photovoltaics in Germany and Photovoltaic Research at IPE, Stuttgart”
  • Dr. Fechner gave a lecture on the 7/6/10 titled “The Perspective of Photovoltaics and the Impact on the Electricity Networks in a High Penetration Scenario”
  • Prof. Werner gave a seminar on the 9/11/12 titled “ Status and Future of Photovoltaics”, as part of a workshop organized by the Photovoltaic Technology Laboratory (see below)
  • Prof. J. H. Werner gave a lecture on the 20th February 2013 titled “Research Activities at the Institute for Photovoltaics, University of Stuttgart”  

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B. Workshops

A workshop involving distinguished guests was organized on the 9/11/12 at the University of Cyprus for public and private entities (general public, students, academics, professionals in the energy field, etc.). The workshop involved a tour in the facilities of the Photovoltaic Technology Laboratory which included 7 exhibition sessions, indoor and outdoor, presented by the doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows of the Laboratory. More than 100 people attended the tour and were informed of the research activities taking place at the PV Technology Laboratory. After the lab tour, the workshop guests proceeded to the main Auditorium in the University of Cyprus where presentations on the Status, Future and challenges of Photovoltaics in Cyprus were given by the invited speakers from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, and other leading entities in energy in Cyprus. A discussion between the audience and the panel members followed.

 

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C. Educational training sessions

A training workshop for photovoltaics (PV) took place in January 2013 at the PV Technologies Laboratory of UCY with special emphasis on the new equipment purchased through the infrastructure project. The photographs below show some activities at the PV laboratory during the training exercises.

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D. Laboratory tours

More than 100 tours of the PV lab have taken place since the project started. These included tours for awareness and education purposes for schools from elementary to high school level, tours to professionals in the energy field and energy organizations (Cyprus Energy Agency, and others) for educational and collaboration purposes, tours to public bodies (municipality and governmental committees and groups) and the general public. Some photos from tours involving schools are shown below.

 

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Contact

For more information please contact:
Project coordinator: Dr. George E. Georghiou

The testing site is located at the University of Cyprus' Photovoltaic Technology Park, in Nicosia, Cyprus.
See it in Google Maps