Photovoltaic Solar Electricity (Resource, Performance and Value)
Institute for Energy
The reference laboratory operating under this Action, the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI), performs a crucial role for solving the technical and scientific issues raised by the large-scale implementation of photovoltaic generators (an anticipated 12% of European electricity supply by 2020). The Action will determine performance and longevity of photovoltaic technologies by calibration and the use of new accelerated ageing techniques, in particular for 2nd and 3rd generation devices (thin-film, high-efficiency and low-cost). This will enable photovoltaic enterprises (manufacturing, system integrators, utilities and financial investors) to establish in a harmonized way the energy performance of power plants throughout their life-time. The Action will also perform research on ultra-efficient solar cells, and support the development of such new technologies by performance verification and calibration. Assessments of solar resources will feedback into cost-calculations on a regional scale and into modelling of dispatch issues in European grid networks.
1. The implementation of the traceability chain from primary SI references to the verification of the power and energy generation of photovoltaic devices through development of experimental methods suitable for international standardisation, and the dissemination of such methods to the research community, industry and end users.
2. The lifetime of a photovoltaic module is one of three key factors determining the generation costs of solar electricity. The action will develop means to determine the ageing and acceleration factors required to predict the end-of-life condition of photovoltaic modules. The activation energies and critical stress factors in the life-time of photovoltaic components, in particular thin-film materials, will be investigated.
3. Establishment of an integrated method for the energy output of new generation photovoltaic modules, particularly thin-film technologies. A systematic study will be made of material performance characteristic in operational conditions, with particular attention to integrating the results in a life time energy rating parameter. This will enable comparison of performance within module families, as well as evaluation and comparison between different technologies and will feed into international standards and norms.
4. The Photovoltaic Geographic Information System (PVGIS) is a system for estimating the solar energy resource and making knowledge available to the public. As part of this work PVGIS will develop high resolution databases of solar radiation. The GIS analysis will provide the platform to integrate traceability, energy rating and life-time assessment and to develop standards in a single integrated system. Supplementary data on temperature will allow the assessment of performance degradation. The impacts of large scale deployment on existing European electricity grids will be analysed..
5. Exploratory Research will address new material concepts high efficiency solar cells and next generation materials. The focus will be on innovative photon absorption approaches such as selective emitters, photon up/down converters and polymer based devices. New experimental apparatus for the characterisation of high efficiency multi- junction solar cells and indoor characterisation of concentrator cells will be developed. These studies feed back to the research community as measurement methods for the future generations of solar cells.