SOLARUNITED brought together a group of companies spanning the value chain from material suppliers to downstream consulting companies and EPCs. The objective of this group is determining the best way to gather defect statistics in the field and to highlight methods for solar park inspection in order to harmonize the way in which defect statistics are gathered and ultimately allow for an analysis of field based trends.
Drawing on previous studies brought together by PVPS, the Solar Bankability Group and others, we have determined the strength and weaknesses of the various data sets already available. We are building on the experience of the materials suppliers to highlights the important failure mechanisms O&M companies and investors should be aware of.
Finally, we also harnessed the expertise of consultants called to assess and investigate failures in the field. Clearly, the type of defect and manner in which defects are counted remains inconsistent. The lack of consistency spans from the complexity of the problems seen as well as the overall objective sought for the various studies planned. Where power production is intimately linked to the sustainability of the investment, the importance of visual defects as potential precursor to power loss has been often neglected. The link between visual defects and power loss and safe operation has not so far been well investigated for lack of data on visual defects. Some attempts have been made and require more inputs.
We are working to identify how defects may progress from visual clues to operational problems. In order to appropriately assess impact and progression potential, we will identify that defects should be categorised accurately. Thereafter we will highlight minimum requirements for statistical representation. A procedure will be outlined and applied to a case study to show how the methodology may be applied.
This work group is seeking to ground a data collection method in order to generate homogeneous data sets which will allow for large data gathering across the globe and subsequent analysis of the resulting trends.
Workgroup Chairs – Laura Azpilicueta, EVASA