Data monitoring of 85 solar power plants built in the Czech Republic between 2009 and 2010 shows that delamination plays a crucial role in shortening their expected lifetime. The researchers behind the study explained that the main reason for the reduced lifespan was not only a poor assessment of the technical possibilities of the PV panels at the time of design and installation, but also a profit-driven approach aimed at reducing the lifespan of the panels. the costs of the projects.
“The power plants built in 2009-2010 have reached the end of their useful lives today,” is the astonishing conclusion of the researchers. “In 2009-2010, the expected lifetime of solar power plants in the Czech Republic was 20-25 years. Today, after about 12 years, it turns out that this estimate was too optimistic and the actual life is about half.
The academics said that all facilities are monitored using the same monitoring system – Solarmon-2.0 – and explained that the facilities showed very similar results, noting that the main cause of panel failure was delamination. They said the modules used in the facilities were mostly supplied by Tier 1 manufacturers without disclosing their names. They also noted that most of the modules had a glass/EVA/TPT laminate construction and were installed at a 35-degree slope.
They also explained that the main reason for shortening the life of solar farms was not only a poor assessment of the technical possibilities of solar panels at the time of design and installation, but also a profit-driven approach aimed at reducing energy efficiency. the costs of the projects. “For example, weaker frames or a smaller distance between the solar cells and the grounded body of the solar panel are used,” they added. “At the same time, the electrical voltage increases in the series-connected PV panel.”
Through their analysis, the team found that the plants’ performance was quite in line with expectations during the first 10 years, but then found that the frequency and number of failures increases significantly from the 11th year onwards. “After the 11th year, the performance of the panel without siloxane repair (or other means of repair) deteriorates so much that it must be completely replaced,” it stressed.
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The researchers also performed a financial analysis of the results provided by the monitoring data and found that the plants were still profitable, albeit with much smaller margins than originally planned. “At the current relatively high price of electricity (at the end of 2022), the payback period of the power plants falls significantly below 10 years, which in the current situation would be enough to cover the investment costs,” they stated. “However, shortening the lifespan of the panels results in a lower return on these investments.”
Their findings were presented in the journal “Reduced Real Life of PV Panels – Economic Consequences”, published recently Solar energy. “The new data can help solar farm owners get a more realistic estimate of profits,” they concluded.