Nav: Home

Solar power -- largest study to date discovers 25 percent power loss across UK

November 09, 2018

RESEARCHERS at the University of Huddersfield have undertaken the largest study to date into the effectiveness of solar panels across the UK and discovered that parts of the country are suffering an overall power loss of up to 25% because of the issue of regional 'hot spots'. Hot spots were also found to be more prevalent in the North of England than in the south.

Dr Mahmoud Dhimish, a lecturer in Electronics and Control Engineering and co-director of the Photovoltaics Laboratory at the University, analysed 2,580 polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels distributed across the UK. The UK has been fossil-free for two years and demand is constantly increasing for renewable energy.

After quantifying the data, Dr Dhimish discovered that the panels found to have hot spots generated a power output notably less than those that didn't. He also discovered that location was a primary contributor in the distribution of hot spots.

Photovoltaics hot spots are areas of elevated temperature which can affect only part of the solar panel. They are a result of a localised decrease in efficiency and the main cause of accelerated PV ageing, often causing permanent damage to the solar panel's lifetime performance.

According to Dr Dhimish, this is the first time an investigation into how hot spots impact the performance of PV panels has been conducted from such a large scale dataset and says the project uncovered results which demonstrate the preferred location of UK hot spots.

"This research showed the unprecedented density of hot spots in the North of England," said Dr Dhimish. "Over 90% of the hot spots are located in the north and most of these are inland, with considerably less seen on the coast."

Solar panel performance disparity

Dr Dhimish says this confirms results from previous research, which concludes when affected cells are partially shaded, it increases the likelihood of hot spots.

But he said what was surprising, was the lesser amount seen around coastal regions, which leads him to believe cooler winds coming in from the ocean are keeping the overall temperature of the PV panels down and are preventing hot spots occurring.

In order to increase the reliability and durability of future residential photovoltaics installations, Dr Dhimish has made three recommendations.

"PV panels, or defective bypass diodes, affected by multiple hot spotted PV Cells have to be replaced since they significantly reduce the reliability and yield energy of the PV installation," he said.

"Secondly, it is recommended to install the solar panels in coastal locations because they are less likely to be affected by the hot spotting phenomenon and finally, the solar energy industry must start investigating the impact of PV hot spotting on the accuracy of existing maximum power point tracking (MPPT) units available in the market."
-end-
  • The research article, including all of the data collected, has been published by the peer-reviewed journal IEEE Transaction on Electron Devices, co-authored by Dr Dhimish, Dr Violeta Holmes and Dr Peter Mather, entitled Evaluating Power Loss and Performance Ratio of Hot spotted Photovoltaic Modules.


University of Huddersfield

Related Solar Panels Articles:

Thin-skinned solar panels printed with inkjet
Efficient, yet exceptionally light organic solar cells created entirely by inkjet printing.
Green energy and better crops: Tinted solar panels could boost farm incomes
Researchers have demonstrated the use of tinted, semi-transparent solar panels to generate electricity and produce nutritionally-superior crops simultaneously, bringing the prospect of higher incomes for farmers and maximising use of agricultural land.
NREL research points to strategies for recycling of solar panels
Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have conducted the first global assessment into the most promising approaches to end-of-life management for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.
Merging solar cell and liquid battery produces long-lasting solar storage
Combining liquid chemical battery technology with perovskite solar cells has led to a new record in solar energy conversion within a single device.
Merging solar cell and liquid battery produces efficient, long-lasting solar storage
Chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their collaborators have created a highly efficient and long-lasting solar flow battery, a way to generate, store and redeliver renewable electricity from the sun in one device.
Trapping the Sun: New thin-film technology uses sustainable components for solar panels
Most common thin-film solar panels consist of expensive rare-earth elements like indium and gallium, or highly toxic metals like cadmium.
"Bright spot" during COVID-19: Increased power from solar panels thanks to cleaner air
During the COVID-19 pandemic, one unexpected outcome in cities around the world has been a reduction in air pollution, as people stay home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Double-sided solar panels that follow the sun prove most cost effective
Solar power systems with double-sided (bifacial) solar panels--which collect sunlight from two sides instead of one--and single-axis tracking technology that tilts the panels so they can follow the sun are the most cost effective to date, researchers report in the journal Joule.
Moisture-sucking gels give solar panels the chills
Polymers that absorb water from the atmosphere can make it easier to run photovoltaic devices in hot climates.
Solar wind samples suggest new physics of massive solar ejections
A new study led by the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa has helped refine understanding of the amount of hydrogen, helium and other elements present in violent outbursts from the Sun, and other types of solar 'wind,' a stream of ionized atoms ejected from the Sun.
More Solar Panels News and Solar Panels Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.