Photovoltaic modules degrade in the field. This thesis aims to answer two questions: 1. Do photovoltaic modules degrade linearly or not? 2. Do soiled modules operate at lower temperatures than clean modules? Answers to these questions are provided in part 1 and part 2 of this thesis respectively.
Part 1: Linearity determination in degradation: The electricity output from PV power plants degrades every year. Generally, a system’s life is considered to last for 20-25 years and rate of degradation is commonly assumed as 1% per year. PV degradation can be found out using Performance Ratio (PR), Performance Index (PI) and raw kWh output. The rate of degradation is considered linear for simplicity of calculations. In this thesis, statistical methods are used to check whether systems in Arizona are degrading linearly or not. Time series modeling such as Winters’ method and ARIMA are used to model the data. Winters’ method and Seasonal ARIMA consider the seasonality component and perform well for small data sets of about 10 years. Rate of degradation is found out as linear for all the evaluated systems.
Part 2: Temperature analysis of clean and soiled modules: Soiling and temperature are important parameters in performance of PV modules. In this paper, an analysis is carried out on a soiling station located in Mesa, Arizona. The soiling station consists of 10 different c-Si coupons with tilt angles varying from 0° to 45° with the difference of 5°. These coupons are cut in half, one is cleaned periodically and the other is remained soiled naturally. The analysis involves data worth for 19 months. 6 dry spells in all four seasons within 19 months were analyzed. The temperature difference between a clean module and a soiled module (ΔT) is compared with the soiling loss factor (SLF). The analysis concludes stating in which season a soiled module is hotter or cooler than a clean module.