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Marta Torralba 08-Jun-2022 08:45:00 2 min read

Common causes of solar performance-related losses

Solar power is the future of energy generation, but it only functions when the sun shines and the PV equipment is performing effectively.

There are several common reasons for solar performance-related losses

One common issue leading to performance losses is hotspots on the solar panels. Hotspots are part of the panel that becomes overloaded and, as a result, become too warm. Hotspots can occur from incorrectly soldered connections or a structural issue in the solar cell.

Micro-cracks are another issue that causes performance losses for solar portfolios. Micro-cracks in crystalline PV panels are microscopic tears that can occur during production, shipping, or careless handling during installation. While micro-cracks do not necessarily cause immediate production loss, they can grow over time and worsen in more extreme weather conditions.

Other frequently occurring problems stem from general equipment degradation such as worn-out inverters, sun-tracking malfunctions related to data analysis, human errors relating to lack of analysed data or environmental factors not directly related to the functioning of components within a PV site.

Internal corrosion (rusting) occurs when moisture enters a panel and resides within. Panels must be air and water-tight. If the panel components are not laminated correctly, this can lead to delamination during operation. Delamination can lead to moisture penetrating the panel, which can cause corrosion. Any corrosion forming on the metal conducting part of the panel can cause a significant reduction in a panel’s production capacity.

 

Identifying the cause of underperformance is essential when solving issues, but what if you knew why?

Identifying what is happening to PV components is a vital step in the right direction toward solving performance problems; however, to prevent or predict future potential issues, we need to understand the why behind the what.

Solar PV sites produce a lot of data. We know that asset owners, operators and managers don’t have the time to process all the data generated by their sites. Quintas Analytics is here to help manage the data chaos. With specific insights, you can take decisive action to recover vital kWhs of lost or underperforming assets.

Advanced analytics explains why drops in production occur and drill down to the root causes of underperformance issues. Advanced analytics collates and processes data through sophisticated algorithms for a more detailed production loss characterisation analysis.
Performance analytics and asset management software like our dedicated platform Ariadne takes SCADA data and applies an intelligence layer that automates many of the manual labour-intensive tasks associated with identifying performance issues and managing renewable assets.

If you suspect that your portfolio is suffering from underperformance issues, Quintas Analytics can help you specify and execute specific diagnostic tests to identify and mitigate losses. We will help make your assets more efficient and ensure you get the most out of the sun.

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Marta Torralba

An Industrial Engineer with extensive experience in the management of remote incidents, communications in high and medium voltage networks, capture and digitization of the low voltage network.