Performance Characterization of Polycrystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Modules Installed in Kumasi, Ghana
Keywords:performance degradation, infra-red, fill factor, efficiency
The focus of this study is on the assessment of the performance of 14 polycrystalline silicon PV modules installed in Kumasi, Ghana after 22 years of field exposure. Visual inspection was carried out to ascertain any observable defects. Current-Voltage performance data was taken using a non-invasive characterization technique able to predict performance at standard test conditions (using TRI-KA and TRI-SEN) followed by Infrared (IR) Imaging tests. The results of the I-V tests showed average Pmax degradation rate of 1.38%/yr for all 14 modules. This is higher than the acceptable limit of (0.7--1.0%/year). In terms of the individual modules, M1 recorded the worst Pmax rate of degradation of 1.74%/yr, and the lowest values for efficiency and fill factor. This is consistent with the IR images and temperature difference that were recorded in the IR tests. A higher temperature difference of 25C was recorded indicating the presence of a hot spot and a defective cell which was confirmed by the hue white colour observed in the IR test. Power Performance Factor (PPF) range of 61.8--76.5% was recorded which is below the limit of 80% often quoted in warranty statements. The drops in PPF indicate that the modules have degraded.
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