Degradation Mechanisms and Partial Shading of Glass-backsheet and Double-Glass Photovoltaic Modules in Three Climate Zones Determined by Remote Monitoring of Time-series Current-voltage and Power Datastreams
Degradation and partial shading impact the long-term reliability and power production of photovoltaic (PV) modules and power plants. Time-series power (Pmp) and current-voltage (I-V) curve datastreams from PV modules enable a remote diagnostic approach to quantify active degradation mechanisms and identify partial shading. We study three to nine years of these datastreams, including 3.6 million I-V curves and 36 million Pmp values, from eight PV modules, four each of double-glass and glass-backsheet module architectures, located in three distinctly different Köppen-Geiger climate zones, to determine the module's performance loss rates (PLR), identify active degradation mechanisms and power loss modes, along with partial shading by local objects. Considering both module architectures, PLR results indicate that the BSh climate zone is the most aggressive for module degradation, while the Alpine ET zone is the mildest climate. PLR of double-glass modules located in BWh and BSh climate zones are different due to the significantly greater uniform current loss (DPIsc) for double-glass modules in BSh, at a 5% significance level. Power loss for four out of five modules located in the BWh and BSh climates are dominated by uniform current degradation. Statistical analysis of multistep I-V curves detects partial shading experienced by three studied modules with details of the shading profile, the shading Poynting vector diagram for the obstacle's relative position, shading scenarios, and duration. This work demonstrates how remote monitoring and diagnosis of Pmp & I-V time-series of modules can provide quantitative operations and maintenance insights into system performance, degradation mechanisms, and shading.