The aim of this work is to incorporate the consideration of operating conditions and component degradation over the system lifetime into predictions of technical and economic performance of PV systems and to investigate ways to express the location dependence of technical and economic performance to assist in development decisions.
The research uses a combination of field data, provided by our project partners at IIT-Kanpur, and system simulation using established software to determine the sensitivity of predicted performance data to the operating conditions for PV systems in India and the UK. The work considers the whole life performance, including the effects of performance degradation, to determine the relative uncertainty in lifetime energy output in different locations. In addition, the levelized electricity cost has been determined as a function of location and the effectiveness of financing schemes assessed.
The viability of a PV installation is determined by consideration of the predicted overall energy output and the cost per unit of that energy. The reliability of the prediction is dependent on a range of factors considered in this work. Specifically, the work shows that:
- Higher uncertainty factors apply to the operation of the system in India, due to environmental and operational issues, and therefore the range of lifetime output predictions is larger.
- Due to the difference in electrical energy tariffs, a domestic system in the UK can achieve grid parity in economic terms as long as the system operates according to manufacturer warranty for a period of 25 years – in contrast, despite the higher sunlight levels, some Indian cities require electricity savings to be included in order to reach this level. Nevertheless, financial incentives will remain important in the near term in both countries, to encourage investment.
- The same PV system would save about three times more CO2 emissions across its lifetime in India compared to the UK.
The investor should be aware of the energy prediction risks (i.e. calculation method of the lifetime energy, chosen lifetime energy mean value, combined uncertainty value and deviation), especially in investments where a minimum rate of return is specified.
Contact: N. Pearsall