A key factor that will enable the further increase of the uptake of the technology is the reduction of PV electricity costs by increasing the lifetime output as highlighted by the Solar Europe Industry Initiative (SEII). This can be achieved by improving the reliability and service lifetime performance through constant, solid and traceable PV plant monitoring of installed systems, hence directly impacting positively investment cost, levelised cost of electricity (LCoE) and in general PV competitiveness. In this sense, a main challenge in the quest for ensuring quality of operation especially for grid-connected PV systems is to safeguard reliability and good performance by identifying and quantifying accurately the factors behind the various performance loss mechanisms, while also detecting and diagnosing potential failures at early stages or before occurrence, through robust performance monitoring, fault detection and preventive maintenance.
A leading industrial company, Gantner Instruments (GI), partnering with a research organisation, University of Cyprus (UCY), initiated a team to develop a PV performance monitoring system equipped with various advanced monitoring algorithms algorithms for detecting and diagnosing potential failures, performance losses and degradation mechanisms in photovoltaic systems at an early stage.
The ultimate goal of the project is to develop an innovative performance monitoring system that will significantly improve and ensure quality of operation of grid-connected PV systems in order to fulfil and guarantee owner/investor expectations.