Under their PREDICTS 2 award, researchers at Case Western Reserve University will analyze data sets from over 5 million solar photovoltaic (PV) panels around the world to learn how various operating conditions can affect the PV module output. This will lead to better prediction of the lifetime performance of PV modules. This project was announced on September 16, 2015 at the Solar Power International conference. Read the press release.
The study aims to improve PV module reliability and longevity by determining which types of modules last the longest and generate the most reliable energy output. Researchers will collect and analyze data from PV modules of multiple brands, ages, and installation types across four continents and multiple climates. By simulating decades of solar radiation and weather patterns, researchers at Case Western Reserve University are able to study how these PV modules will perform in just a few years’ time.
Borrowing from an approach found in medicine, researchers at Case Western University are using a bioinformatics and epidemiological data analysis approach to collect information. By looking at a large data set and evaluating factors that influence performance, the study will allow researchers to better understand how much energy modules are able to generate over their lifetime, reducing the time it takes to compile enough data to draw conclusions. This study will help to reduce the cost of solar and add certainty for renewable energy investors.