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:

Study: Even short-lived solar panels can be economically viable
A new study shows that, contrary to widespread belief within the solar power industry, new kinds of solar cells and panels don't necessarily have to last for 25 to 30 years in order to be economically viable in today's market.
Researchers develop a better way to harness the power of solar panels
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a way to better harness the volume of energy collected by solar panels.
Installing solar panels on agricultural lands maximizes their efficiency, new study shows
A new study finds that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric energy demand.
Solar panels cast shade on agriculture in a good way
Combining solar panel (photovoltaic) infrastructure and agriculture creates a mutually beneficial relationship.
Solar energy becomes biofuel without solar cells
Soon we will be able to replace fossil fuels with a carbon-neutral product created from solar energy, carbon dioxide and water.
Breakthrough material could lead to cheaper, more widespread solar panels and electronics
Two physics research groups at the University of Kansas have generated free electrons from organic semiconductors when combined with a single atomic layer of molybdenum disulfide, a recently discovered two-dimensional semiconductor.
What happens when schools go solar?
Rooftop solar projects at schools could reduce harmful air pollution, help the environment and enhance student learning while cutting electricity costs, a new study finds.
Stanford team locates nearly all US solar panels in a billion images with machine learning
Stanford researchers have identified the GPS locations and sizes of almost all US solar power installations from a billion images.
New property revealed in graphene could lead to better performing solar panels
An international research team, co-led by a UC Riverside physicist, has discovered a new mechanism for ultra-efficient charge and energy flow in graphene, opening up opportunities for developing new types of light-harvesting devices.
Microscopic 'sunflowers' for better solar panels
Scientists from Harvard's Wyss Institute have harnessed magnetic fields to control the molecular structure of liquid crystal elastomers and create microscopic three-dimensional polymer shapes that can be programmed to move in any direction in three-dimensional space in response to multiple types of stimuli, including light and heat.
More Solar Panels News and Solar Panels Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.