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PV-Magazine reports on our metric for 50-year solar plant operation

PV-magazine picked up on our recent Joule article and reported on our model to operate PV-installations as a permanent asset

Tradeoff between efficiency and degradationTradeoff between efficiency and degradation
Copyright: Joule, 10.1016/j.joule.2021.10.019

Our model was proposed by Dr. Marius Peters together with the U.S. thin film solar manufacturer First Solar in the recent Joule Article "The value of stability in Photovoltaics. PV-magazine was so intrigued by the idea of operating PV-parcs as permanent assets that they interviewed Marius.

“I wouldn’t say that solar module stability is more important than efficiency, as you need both,” Marius told pv magazine. “In research, however, I see a much stronger focus on efficiency and, by now, journals also ask for [the] proven stability of these cells, but I still don’t see record stabilities being highlighted in the same way.” According to him, the emphasis that is today being given only to panel efficiencies should raise concerns in the industry, as the importance of stability for the commercial success of a solar product is not yet fully appreciated, especially the implications for the sustainability of the devices.

Three economic models were initially considered by the research team: the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), which balances yield and cost of a PV system over its lifetime; the discounted cash flow analysis, which estimates the value of an investment based on its expected future cash flows; and the steady-state model, which considers that an energy asset is run indefinitely and comprises all income and expenses. “The change in mindset that continuous operation requires is a transition from focusing on recovering an initial investment, to maximizing profit by managing degrading components,” the researchers said, referring to the third approach.

The trade-off between degradation rate and efficiency was analyzed through techno-economic calculations in a utility scale PV project located in Arizona and a rooftop installation in Germany in which all modules are replaced by more efficient panels, a move that, due to the increased capacity, imposes an increase in the number of inverters and cables. “Considering these effects, we numerically adjust efficiency until the economic performance is the same as that of the initial installation,” the academics specified. “Results depend on the choice of system cost parameters but are independent of specific yield.”

Read the PV-Magazine report here: www.pv-magazine.com/2021/12/08/new-metric-for-50-year-solar-plant-operation/

Read the full article here: doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2021.10.019



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