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101 renewable -Electroluminescence Imaging and PV panels failure

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Last Updated
7th of October, 2018

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PV Panels defects are more evident when the solar array matures. PV Panels defects affect the power plant general output. Here are some of the underlined faults associated with solar panels:

>_ Installation microcracks by installation footing;
>_ Hailstones from storms;
>_ Dropped modules;
>_ Birds drop golf balls, mussels, nuts etc.;
>_ Potential induced degradation (PID);
>_ Groups of broken fingers;
>_ Series resistance losses;
>_ Cell areas which are completely inactive, dead areas;
>_ Defective soldering points;
>_ Poor low light response;

All of those are influencing the system efficiency and together with a faulty design are the subject of repowering and re-engineering of existing solar power plants.

With the introduction of a 1000VDC and 1500VDC type of solar panels (PV Panels), all those hidden defects are rolling back the power output and damaging the integrity of the system, as per module reliability and premature aging. A thorough inspection will always help the installation and it is requested at commissioning, during maintenance, or during PV solar plant audit. A thorough inspection will help maximize the return on your solar PV investment.

Some of the most known methods used are thermal imaging, electric power measurements. For this type of investigations, Fluke thermal cameras and Seward respective HukseFlux solar power meters are well known and their use is common in the industry. Thus, those methods are hinting towards possible faults, they do not clear the air and they do not reveal the real problems or help identify the panels which are malfunctioning.

A new technology brought into PV panels industry called "Electroluminescence Imaging" helps to detect the presence of future points of failure. This method identify which modules need fixing or replacing. This new technology it is called DaySy Pro 1000.

The Solar Zentrum DaySy Pro 1000 technology allows you to visually inspect solar PV modules in broad daylight. The working principle behind DaySy Method enables 24h usage with a throughput of up 1.2 MWp.

Seaward Group USA is the official partners for Solar Zentrum in the United States. Solar Zentrum is a German company based in Stuttgart Germany. Seaword has incorporated the DaySy technology in their product, Solar Utility Pro. Solar Utility Pro from Seaward takes PV testing to the next level.

DaySy Method enables fast luminescence imaging of installed photovoltaic modules and strings independently of solar irradiance.

The DaySy Method is based on Electro (EL) - and Photoluminescence (PL):~

DaySy is an innovative method to inspect PV power plants. The type and severity of the defect are calculated from combined Electro- and Photoluminescence images. Wide angle images detect large area defects with high throughput while close up images reveal microcracks.

The difference between thermal imaging and luminescence imaging:~

Thermography captures the dissipated heat of the PV module. Thermography is an indirect indicator of module quality since defects usually burn power and thus generate more heat than intact cells.

DaySy Method generates luminescence images which are directly correlated to the electrical activity of the solar cells. Luminescence is a direct indicator of module quality since inactive parts do not generate power.

seawardsolar-utility-pro-main.jpg

About Solar Utility Pro from Seaward:~

Solar Utility Pro comes with two main hardware components: DaySyBox and DaySyCam plus a software platform to control and visualize the results.

The DaySyBox injects electrical power into the PV modules to generate infrared radiation. The DaySyCam captures the infrared radiation and calculates luminescence images. The luminescence is a live-image of the electrical quality of the PV module.

40A current capability enables the Solar Utility Pro to test parallel wired strings up to a maximum of 1500V / 40A, eliminating the time-consuming task of separating strings to keep within lower limits of other instruments. A single press of the Test button will give values for Open Circuit Voltage and Short Circuit Current, and when paired with the Seaward Solar Survey 200R irradiance meter, will also record irradiance, module, and ambient temperature measurements. The large internal storage memory can record up to 999 complete record sets, which can be downloaded as a CSV file to a PC for review.

Solar Utility Pro features a rugged enclosure and gives the PV engineer the most efficient, portable and highest rated tester available.

Here are some examples of (PV module) defects found using the DaySy Method within Solar Utility Pro:~


daysy-spot-the-difference.jpg



About the author of this article:
View Michael Comsa's profile on LinkedIn

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