Beginning in 2016, the PV Lifetime Project will help determine & communicate module degradation profiles over time, including the uncertainty and any differentiation between hardware types. Outdoor energy monitoring in different climates will be supplemented with regular testing under repeatable test conditions. The focus will be on the PV module, as well as other hardware components (junction boxes, bypass diodes, module-level electronics) attached to it. Hardware will be installed at the DOE Regional Test Centers and monitored on an ongoing basis. Performance data will be made available to the public online. The data is expected to enable an increase in the accuracy and precision of degradation profiles calculated for representative PV hardware installed in the U.S.
Figure 1. Degradation rates of PV modules are often calculated using only one or two data points; for aged PV modules, intermediate performance values are seldom available1. Differences in how PV modules might reach their end-of-life capacity have substantial impact on levelized cost of energy (LCOE). As an illustration, LCOE values for the typical, linear, 0.5%/year degradation rate are shown along with a notional two-step degradation profile: degradation for the first 12.5 years is 0%/year, followed by 1%/year for the remainder of the 25-year period. For this example, a discount rate of 7% was assumed.
1 Jordan, D. C., Kurtz, S. R., VanSant, K., and Newmiller, J. (2016) Compendium of photovoltaic degradation rates. Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl., 24: 978–989. doi: 10.1002/pip.2744.
For more information about the PV Lifetime Project please contact Joshua Stein (firstname.lastname@example.org)