5. 3 Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Summary / Abstract:
In many parts of the world, soiling is a significant loss mechanism for PV energy production. Methods for accurately quantifying historical and current soiling losses are needed. Furthermore, state-of-the-art methods to estimate degradation rates based on production data do not handle soiling in a satisfactory manner. In order to accurately estimate either of these quantities, it is in many cases helpful to consider their combined effect on PV system performance. In this work we make use of the Combined Degradation and Soiling (CODS) algorithm, which iteratively decomposes time series of daily normalized energy yield into four components: a soiling ratio, a degradation trend, seasonal variations, and noise. We demonstrate the use of the model on field performance data from a utility-scale power plant in a high-soiling environment in the Middle East. We apply the algorithm to the temperature-corrected performance index of the DC power on inverter level, quantifying how soiling varies over time and through the plant. The irradiation-weighted average soiling loss in this plant is 2.3 %, with a median soiling rate of -0.086 %/day. Between the inverters in the site in study, estimated degradation rates range between -0.86 %/year and -0.15 %/year, with a mean rate of -0.48 %/year.