Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Development of a GIS Tool for a High Precision PV Degradation Monitoring and Supervision: Feasibility Analysis in Large and Small PV Plants

Version 1 : Received: 9 May 2017 / Approved: 10 May 2017 / Online: 10 May 2017 (04:24:13 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

de Simón-Martín, M.; Diez-Suárez, A.-M.; Álvarez-de Prado, L.; González-Martínez, A.; de la Puente-Gil, Á.; Blanes-Peiró, J. Development of a GIS Tool for High Precision PV Degradation Monitoring and Supervision: Feasibility Analysis in Large and Small PV Plants. Sustainability 2017, 9, 965. de Simón-Martín, M.; Diez-Suárez, A.-M.; Álvarez-de Prado, L.; González-Martínez, A.; de la Puente-Gil, Á.; Blanes-Peiró, J. Development of a GIS Tool for High Precision PV Degradation Monitoring and Supervision: Feasibility Analysis in Large and Small PV Plants. Sustainability 2017, 9, 965.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2017, 9, 965
DOI: 10.3390/su9060965

Abstract

It is well known that working PV plants show several maintenance needs due to wiring and modules degradation, mismatches, dust and PV cells defects and faults. There are a wide range of studies that show the theoretical and some laboratory tests of how these circumstances may affect the PV production. Thus, it results mandatory to evaluate the whole PV plant performance and, then, it’s payback time, profitability and environmental impact or carbon footprint. However, very few studies include a systematic procedure to quantify and supervise the real degradation effects and faults impacts on the field. In this paper, the authors first conduct a brief review of the most frequent PV faults and degradation that can be found on real conditions operative PV Plants. Then, they propose and develop an innovative Geographic Information System application to locate and supervise them. The designed tool has been applied to either a large PV plant of 108 kWp and a small PV plant of just 9 kWp installed on a home rooftop. For the large PV plant, 24 strings of PV modules have been modelized and introduced into the GIS application and every module in the power plant has been studied including voltage, current, power, series and parallel resistance, fill factor, normalized PV curve to STC, thermography and visual analysis. For the small PV installation 3 strings of PV panels have been studied identically. It must be noticed that PV modules in this case include power optimizers. The precision of the study allows the researchers to locate and supervise up to a third part of every PV cell in the system, which are adequately georreferenciated. The developed tool allows both the researchers and the investors to increase control on the PV plant performance and conducts to a better planification of maintenance actuations and to evaluate several PV modules replacement strategies in a preventive maintenance programme. Found PV faults include hot spots, snail tracks, EVA discoloration, PV cells fractures, busbars discoloration, bubbles and Si discoloration.

Subject Areas

photovoltaics; PV plants; PV faults; Geographic Information System; PV supervision and maintenance

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