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How Can We Understand Photovoltaic Module Degradation Rates?

By 2024-05-14Energy

Photovoltaic (PV) modules are pivotal in converting solar energy into electricity. An essential aspect influencing their effectiveness and endurance is their degradation rate. This rate quantifies the decline in maximum power output of a PV module over time, relative to its initial output under standard test conditions, including AM1.5 spectrum, 25°C module temperature, and 1000 W/m² irradiance.

Monocrystalline silicon PV modules typically exhibit initial degradation rates ranging from 2.5% to 3%, while polycrystalline counterparts demonstrate slightly lower rates of 0.5% to 2%. However, degradation rates are also influenced by production processes, such as brand reputation, and the materials used in encapsulation.

Various factors contribute to PV module degradation, including dust accumulation, efficiency reduction from rainwater coverage, temperature-induced declines, mismatch losses from stringing modules, and DC cable power losses. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation accelerates degradation by causing aging and yellowing of materials like ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and backsheet materials, reducing light transmittance and leading to power decline.

Accurate degradation rate assessment necessitates considering these factors and conducting evaluations under standardized conditions. Regular maintenance, such as surface cleaning to remove dirt and dust buildup, and periodic inspection of wiring and connectors, is critical for prolonging PV module lifespan and minimizing degradation rates.

Furthermore, the design and manufacturing quality of PV modules significantly affect degradation rates. Superior materials and advanced production techniques can reduce rates and extend module lifespan.

By comprehensively considering these factors, a more precise evaluation of PV module degradation rates can be achieved, facilitating appropriate measures to enhance their longevity and optimize system performance and reliability.

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