PV power plants: Lab quality power measurements now possible without dismantling modules

6/8/16, 8:00 AM -

Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin now has the capability to troubleshoot faults in PV power plants using a precision LED solar simulator. This device allows laboratory standard solar module power measurements to be taken in the field without dismantling modules.

Measuring output with the new LED solar simulator

Until now, these measurements were only possible using mobile laboratories, which required modules to be removed from installations for testing. PI Berlin is presenting its new measurement method at this year’s Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich, from June 22nd to 24th.

LED flash testing for in situ diagnostics

If a solar power plant fails to deliver the expected yield, this may be caused by a variety of factors. Power losses can often be traced back to the smallest of faults in PV modules, which aren’t recognized at first glance – for instance micro cracks in solar cells. To return a power plant to full productivity as rapidly as possible, faults and their relevance must be quickly pinpointed. Here, LED solar simulators help to accurately determine the effect of defects on an installation’s yield.

Ultra-precise output measurements directly in the field

“To dismantle PV modules takes time and can also result in further damage to the modules. Our LED solar simulator is set on the module substructure at the site,” explains Paul Grunow, CEO of PI Berlin. „So there is no need to remove modules and the output measurements are quicker and cheaper. The precision LED sun simulator replicates sunlight so realistically that we are able to test module power output with extreme accuracy at any time of the day or year. If we perform testing at night, this has the added advantage for operators that there is no plant downtime.”

New LED solar simulator meets stricter upcoming IEC 60904-9 standard

The LED solar simulator was developed in collaboration with the innovative high-tech start-up Wavelabs and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), one of the leading Swiss universities of its kind, and with the support of the professional association Electrosuisse. The device not only meets the current IEC 60904-9 standard but also satisfies the more rigorous forthcoming specifications.

Presentation at Intersolar

PI Berlin will demonstrate output measurements with the new Class AAA LED solar simulator at the Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich, from JJune, 22nd to 24th. The institute will also present additional services at the exhibition, such as its new quality test for EVA films and electroluminescence measurements using drones. (HS)

Intersolar exhibition: Hall A1, Booth A1.533