5. 3 Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Summary / Abstract:
The generation of energy from solar technologies is becoming more and more important and consequently the serious consideration of a problem, soiling. Today the unit of measure is no longer the Giga Wh but the Tera Wh and consequently the smallest percentage of loss can generate a considerable economic shortfall. In order to reduce the cost of energy produced (LCOE), the players are seeking to locate their installations in the sunniest, arid and unfortunately often very dusty regions. Chile’ Atacama Desert is on those attractive areas for the development of photovoltaic projects CEA and University of ANTOFAGASTA cooperate in the framework of a program called ATAMOSTEC for research and development of high-radiation photovoltaic technologies for desert climates. One important item in this program is the soiling issue, because Atacama Desert energy loss estimation is between 3 to 30% depending on the precise location in the Desert. This article aims to describe the global approach and the various protocols, software and hardware, which are used and clearly shows with concrete examples how complex this thematic is and therefore requires a broad range of knowledge. We illustrate with the concrete actions led on the so-called PSDA power plant located 60 km east from Antofagasta. ATAMOSTEC is a private-public initiative that seeks to develop technologies for the photovoltaic solar energy industry, specifically designed for high radiation and desert conditions. We work on indoor and outdoor test for measuring the performance of disruptive PV technologies for the industry. The following picture (cf. Figure 1) summarizes the outdoor installations that are operating under the extreme conditions of the Atacama Desert. We are also gathering bankable data from a complete territorial characterization obtained from our reference laboratory. Once a technology is chosen, it can be tested as a system in our 1MW PV plant Lalcktur located 1hour away.