The effect of harsh weather on PV panels explored

Image: Case Western Reserve UniversityImage: Case Western Reserve University

New research coming from Case Western Reserve University and Gebze Technical University (GTU) has looked towards how weather effects solar panels in order to help solar manufactures design more resistant PV panels (Photovoltaics) technology.

By understanding what wears out solar materials it is hoped that the lifetime of the technology will increase according to researches conducting the report.

This could have large ramifications with Australia’s often harsh unforgiving weather conditions, despite there already being on-going calls for a fast adoption of renewables.

Research that effects our solar future with PV panels

The journal article “Predictive models of poly(ethylene-terephthalate) film degradation under multi-factor accelerated weathering exposures” examines the effects of PET (polyethylene terephthalate)—what water bottles are made of has on the durability of solar panels.

“This [research] makes the cost of solar energy—in this case—better and easier to understand,” says Case Western Reserve Professor Laura Bruckman, who directed the study with Abdulkerim Gok, a research associate at GTU formerly with Case Western Reserve.

“If solar modules last 50 years, and science can back that up,” she said, “it will make solar energy more affordable by decreasing the dollar-per-watt of electricity generation” she went on to say on Case Western Reserve Universities news page.

The effect of harsh weather on PV panels explored

The effect of harsh weather on PV panels explored. Image: Pixabay

This study looks at statistics and engineering epidemiology in order to estimate and predict how these technologies will fare when used in different weather scenarios.

PV panel Reliability and method

In the journals introduction the importance of PV reliability as well as looking at the current state of PV warranty practice is explored.

“The reliability of photovoltaic (PV) modules is of critical importance to the growing PV industry. The PV module polymeric backsheets play a critical role in power production, electrical safety, and lifetime performance. “

“Today’s PV modules typically have a 25 year product warranty based on pass/fail type standardized tests not designed for lifetime qualification.”

The research was carried out In the SDLE Research Center at Case Western Reserve. To begin PET samples were exposed to various accelerated weathering conditions. Fixed and mixed effects modeling were used to predict degradation responses of different PET films.

Energy Matters provides more than just the standard warranty for its solar panels, going beyond by offering a performance based warranty.