A key factor that will enable the further increase of the uptake of the photovoltaic (PV) technology is the reduction of the electricity costs by increasing the lifetime output as highlighted by the Solar Europe Industry Initiative (SEII). This can be achieved by improving the reliability and service lifetime performance through constant, solid and traceable PV plant monitoring of installed systems, hence directly impacting positively investment cost and levelised cost of electricity (LCoE). In this sense, a main challenge in the quest for ensuring quality of operation especially for grid-connected PV systems is to safeguard reliability and good performance by identifying and quantifying accurately the factors behind the various performance loss mechanisms.
The PV-4LIFE project has been initiated to overcome these challenges and establish repeatable methods, which will ensure optimal PV plant performance through the development of algorithms to identify and classify performance loss and degradation without disrupting the normal operation of the system. This methodology will be primarily based on real-time analysis of measurement data and statistical learning and will be verified experimentally using measurement data from the test sites of the institutions comprising the consortium. In this respect, it is also anticipated that the project will result in the mapping of performance loss patterns identified in the measurement data to specific performance loss mechanisms. The geographical diversity of the field-testing conditions at the partnering institution sites will help with generalizing the resulting analysis methods.
The project started in July 2019, and is scheduled to run for 24 months. The PV-4LIFE project is financed by the University of Cyprus.