Raptor Maps analyzed 24.5 GW of large-scale solar equipment and found that power losses due to equipment failures nearly doubled from 1.61 percent in 2019 to 3.13 percent in 2022. At the module level, cell and diode deviations were the most common problems. .
Inspection statistics show that solar power resources are becoming more abnormal year by year. Underperformance due to anomalies nearly doubled from 1.61 percent in 2019 to 3.13 percent in 2022, the company said. Power losses have increased by 94 percent since 2019, it added, noting that power losses due to the anomaly could increase to nearly 6 percent by 2025 at current rates.
Raptor Maps estimates annual losses of $82 million in 2022 for the 24.5 GW assets it audited, which equates to an average annual loss of $3,350 per megawatt.
“Extrapolating total global solar capacity (at the end of 2021, excluding residential) represents a $2.5 billion annual revenue loss for the industry,” the company said.
For the first time, the report includes data on underperformance by site size and module-level anomalies. The figures show that the average power losses of the smaller production plants were the highest as a percentage of the production capacity. However, the largest sites had higher average power losses. Between 100 and 200 MW, average power losses were 4.04% – 29% higher than the global average.
“Sites over 200MW lose an average of about $4,320 per megawatt, while some sites lose as much as $12,900 per megawatt,” Raptor Maps claimed.
The report shows that system-level anomalies are the biggest causes of power losses. The string, inverter, and combiner deviations have the greatest effect on power as a percentage of the total inspected power, at 1.06%, 0.70%, and 0.67%, respectively. String anomalies are said to account for 34% of lost revenue, while inverter and combiner anomalies accounted for 22% and 21% respectively.
At the module level, Jinko Solar, First Solar, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar and Longi were the top five manufacturers of assets reviewed. According to Raptor Maps, cell and diode deviations were the most common module-level and sub-module-level anomalies for these manufacturers. Together, these two categories represented about 70% of the detected defects. Physical damage accounted for 18% of the failures.
Monocrystalline modules were found to be significantly less defective than polycrystalline and thin film technologies, 65% and 41% respectively. The examined thin film modules were allegedly more susceptible to physical damage such as cracking, delamination and warping. They showed three times more physical damage than polycrystalline and 12 times more than monocrystalline. Hot spots were also observed much more often in thin film modules than in the other two technologies.
“The report highlights the need for asset owners and managers to monitor equipment performance over time, proactively identifying maintenance issues and opportunities for warranty claims,” Raptor Maps said.