Thin film PV tolerates shading better

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Which among these are your reasons for adopting solar PV? Here are the top five reasons: The bottom line; To increase property value; For the comfort; Because the technology is cool; To go ‘green’. Most of the solar PV world would opt for the fifth reason straightaway! The first reason would be important for most of the folks as well. The rest, well, you can select!

Talking about the the pros vs. cons of solar PV systems, Brandon Mitchener, director, Public Relations, EMEA, First Solar Europe Holdings S.a.r.l, said: “Solar PV systems provide a reliable source of electricity at an affordable cost, don’t pollute, don’t require much maintenance, and typically offer a 20- or 25-year performance guarantee. Their electricity production profile corresponds closely with most people’s peak energy needs, delidegradation of semiconductor material in solar panels is naturalvering electricity during the day, when people need it the most.”

On the issue of the need for a large area of unshaded south, south-west or south-east facing roof is required to maiximise payback, he added that all PV systems perform best when they have unobstructed exposure to the sun during the time of day when it shines the brightest, which tends to be from mid-morning until mid-afternoon.

“In the northern hemisphere, the sun tends to be low in the sky (south) during the winter months, and therefore a south-facing orientation is best. Some modules and systems tolerate partial shading better than others (thin-film PV tolerates shading better than most silicon modules, for example) but all work better when they have full sunlight,” he said.

Panels generally degrade over time by approximately 20 percent over 25 years. To this, he added that the degradation of semiconductor material in solar panels is natural and unavoidable, but also perfectly predictable. The performance specifications of solar systems normally factor in their degradation over the course of the performance guarantee, which is typically 20-25 years. In other words, the degradation is ‘priced in’ from the start.

Lastly, would it be beneficial to replace inverter after 10 years to optimise power generation? Generally, inverters do not last as long as the PV modules and will need to be replaced before the modules.

By Pradeep Chakraborty

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