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It’s all in the measurement

Words: André Richter, Business Developer Technology, Meyer Burger Technology Ltd

High efficiency, high performance – achieving these levels requires expenditure and commitment. This report investigates the measurement technology required.

In recent decades, the use of photovoltaics (PV) has become increasingly widespread. In 2016 more than 200 GW of solar modules have already been installed worldwide. At the same time, the energy generation costs of photovoltaics have become consistently more attractive. The growing volume of photovoltaic installations brings with it the increased need for quality control and quality certification.

Diagram 1 shows the crucial dependencies which must be satisfied to enable low-cost photovoltaic energy generation. Low-cost energy generation means system costs. System costs in turn mean low tool and POS costs, the high energy yield of solar modules as well as high durability and long lifetime of the PV systems. An investment in photovoltaics occurs essentially when the PV system is installed because the maintenance costs following installation are minimal.

Photovoltaic installations are generally very robust and have a relatively long lifespan typically in excess of 20 years. Initially the investor must decide which technology is most suitable and offers the best product and system configuration for the maximum yield and maximum return over the entire lifetime. These questions can only be answered through detailed measurement calculations and accelerated aging tests.

A PV system is made up of more than just a solar module; it also consists of an inverter, cabling, a module frame, AC connection and other system parts. The overall interaction of the components as a whole is of course vital for to ensure maximum performance.

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