A substantial unmet need:
In 2019, photovoltaic (PV) developers throughout the world installed 114.9 GW of new solar power, according to statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This represents some 359 million solar modules each year. The PV market size has been estimated at $53.9 bn (USD) for 2018, a figure that is expected to experience (CAGR) of between 4.3% and 25.1% out to 2026.
Reliable figures have only recently become available for the long-term reliability of solar modules in the field. Yet, naively, asset owners and sector investors have been happy to assume life spans of 20-30 years unquestioningly. The reality would suggest otherwise.
An analysis of 9 million field-placed solar modules (3GW) corresponding to 551 different installations worldwide (“Dupont global PV reliability – 2020 field analysis”) showed that advanced faults could be detected visually in 30% of these solar panels. These advanced faults should all have been detected years to decades in advance to avoid loss of power-generating capacity.
The abovementioned scenario serves to highlight the need for industry-wide improvements in large-scale Solar Energy Facility (SEF) Operations & Maintenance (O&M): “Systems durability is the product of reliability over lifetime and underwrites investment returns”.