Smart Energy Technologies & Energy Storage
Aim/Objective: Discuss effective risk mitigation measures to improve long term financial yields for PV power plants. The train of thought is as follows: The number of photovoltaic installations worldwide has increased exponentially over the last 20 years evolving from one of small scale applications to a mainstream electricity source with a trend towards increasingly utility-scale PV systems that may involve hundreds of millions of USD investments. At the same time, an increasing number of PV power plants underperform as a result of various factors. To enable the push the energy transition to the next level, joint efforts need to enable the entire PV sector to push the electricity share generated by PV power plants towards 20% and beyond. At least evenly important, it is of the essence to enhance the profitability for all stakeholders in the PV sector. The methods applied consist of field data analysis from PV power plants, results from reviewing and assessing the root cause of more than 3,600 insurance claim cases, and an analysis where the observed deficiencies might stem from. Furthermore, the resulting recommendations to enable a quantitative approach to rate PV power plants related to their to be expected performance will be discussed.
Results from actual PV-park performance: The result from the findings is alarming as approx. 30% of all selected PV power plants (representing approx. 10% of all power plants inspected by the alliance partners) show severe defects requiring immediate corrective action. From this analysis, more than 40% of failures are originated by modules. The cause for module related defects range from PID – the #1 performance killer – to delamination, cell breakage, snail trails, non-complying components etc. The alarming deterioration of module performance suggests taking a closer look at module production and further upstream into cell manufacturing. At the same time, other defect sources have as well been identified. Similar findings from PV power plant safety compliance and performance assessments have been reported by other stakeholders over the last years. Current status in risk mitigation: To mitigate risks, as part of an overall project due diligence, the financial sector currently reviews technical assessment reports. However, depending on the assessor, these technical assessment reports vary significantly in terms of thoroughness, accurateness, completeness, reliability, validity, transparency etc. so that the actual investment decision turns out to contain a large number of imponderabilities.
Conclusion: To counter the resulting inefficiencies, internationally accepted standards are essential to drive the further deployment of PV forward. The IECRE global certification system will be discussed in more detail. To complement the certification system allowing a more differentiated view on to be expected PV power plant performance, the status of the IECRE rating system approach will be discussed.