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Stylized Text: SERES: Task 4.

PV System Monitoring and Analysis

PV systems performance and reliability data are key to assessing the status and needs of the technology.This effort is closely linked to Sandia’s reliability database and other sources of systems data, with the long-term goal of establishing a national data center for PV systems that may in part guide decisions on systems development and program emphasis. This task supports installation of data acquisition equipment on PV installations, and providing the means for making this information and data products available on-line for public access.

Picture of a datalogger setup at a site.The SERES continues aggressive efforts in the collection, processing and archiving of performance, reliability and cost information for PV installations in the Florida photovoltaic buildings and schools programs, as well as other applications installed through the RUS and partnerships with utilities in the NW and other states and programs. Special emphasis is placed on analysis of this information, and creating useful on-line resources, tools and data products for industry, utilities end-users and other stakeholders. FSEC’s PV system database will continue to be developed and updated to include all pertinent systems information, including owner information, system and equipment data, costs and maintenance requirements, reliability and performance data.

Technical Objectives:

  • Identify key areas of needed improvement in systems engineering, installation and operation to improve the performance, reliability and value of PV systems.
  • Install and maintain data acquisition systems on PV field installations.
  • Characterize the type, number of occurrences and MTBF of system and component reliability issues and failure modes.
  • Compare and contrast the performance of different combinations of arrays and inverters based on location, size, and customer and utility load profiles.
  • Develop and derive key system performance parameters, including capacity factors, array utilization, inverter performance and inverter efficiency and s and inverter performance.
  • Identify cumulative affects on system performance based on module/array ratings, line and mismatch losses, and inverter maximum power point tracking and efficiency.
  • Characterize the initial and life cycle costs for systems, including equipment, labor, operation and maintenance.
  • Develop and implement models to evaluate economic value and emissions offsets for PV system performance under varying utility rate structures and use patterns, from both consumer and utility perspectives.
  • Maintain PV system performance and reliability database Web site for public access. Provide web-based data access to data products.

For additional information on PV SERES system monitoring efforts, please see: