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Proceedings Paper

PV system reliability: lessons learned from a fleet of 333 systems
Author(s): A. Kaushik; A. Golnas
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Paper Abstract

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from PV systems can be reduced by maximizing the energy production of existing/future PV plants through increased availability. This can be achieved by detailed study of root cause and failure analysis of component failures leading to a systematic progress towards improving the reliability of various sub-systems. SunEdison owns/operates ~500 sites across the world and systematically collects field failure data in addition to power output and weather data. Analysis of this information allows following-up on corrective actions to eliminate/minimize the re-occurrence of failures and leads to continuous improvements. This paper will analyze some of the key findings from the system failures as follows: - Inverter failures not only cause most of the system outages, but also result in substantial energy losses. Component failures in PCBs and inverter software/firmware bugs are the most common root cause of system outages - From a systemic root cause perspective, lack of robust quality systems at multiple levels of the supply chain is quite evident, which points toward the need for collectively inculcating the quality culture at every stage of the supply chain - This paper will try to establish the need for "Continuous Improvement Process" (CIP) where systemic issues are confronted and solutions are internalized in the operating procedures as the only path to improving component reliability - For a given level of reliability, cost associated with servicing the plant becomes critical. This paper highlights the importance of using "cost of ownership" metrics for making procurement decisions

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2011
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8112, Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems IV, 81120M (21 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893172
Show Author Affiliations
A. Kaushik, SunEdison (India)
A. Golnas, SunEdison (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8112:
Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems IV
Neelkanth G. Dhere; John H. Wohlgemuth; Kevin W. Lynn, Editor(s)

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