PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) studied the health of solar power plants affected by incidents such as forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and hailstorms
PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), the leading independent test laboratory for the global downstream solar industry, has now tested PV modules installed in more than 1 GW solar projects damaged by force majeure events. The company achieved this milestone by providing electroluminescent (EL) imaging services for on-site PV modules. EL images show latent damage in PV modules that affects the energy yield, safety and financial performance of solar systems over time.
“Field EL imaging techniques help quantify damage to PV systems when hit by force majeure events such as forest fires, hurricanes, and hailstorms,” said Gary Fleming, senior account engineer at PERse, a property and casualty insurance product specialist General underwriter of power generation plants for renewable energy. “Field EL images can help asset owners and O&M providers repair their assets and help ensure insurance claims are accurate.”
The field EL images provided by PVEL are similar to X-rays: they show internal cell cracks, thermal stress, and manufacturing defects in PV modules that are not visible to the eye. With a special near-infrared camera, highly qualified technical employees from PVEL take EL images on site during the day while the modules remain installed on the assembly systems.
“PVEL has developed an efficient, cost-effective EL imaging process that brings the power and precision of our laboratory tests to equipment,” commented Tara Doyle, PVEL’s chief commercial officer. “Today’s milestone is evidence of our dedicated mobile response team that has innovated to support asset owners despite a global pandemic that coincides with a severe forest fire and hurricane season. Unfortunately, these extreme weather events are becoming due to climate change only occur more frequently – and so Our team remains on standby to support global asset owners and insurance companies. ”
During a typical site visit, the PVEL field service team will map more than a thousand PV modules per day. PVEL then processes and categorizes the images through a combination of AI-driven machine learning techniques and intensive technical reviews. The results of this analysis are used to validate the size of the force majeure claims and the number of PV module changes required.
“We know that latent damage to PV modules ultimately reduces the energy yield of power plants. This damage has negative effects on our future plant performance, environmental impact and our return on investment. If a catastrophe hits one of our assets, PVEL would be one of our first demands for one On-site EL imaging. Your damage assessments provide the high levels of accuracy and detail needed to quickly resolve insurance claims, “commented Lynsey Tibbs, project manager for solar power at Southern Power Company.
While the majority of PVEL’s previous field EL work has supported force majeure damage assessments, the company has also provided field EL images to diagnose system underperformance issues, allegations of improper handling and improper installation of PV – Validate modules and create a basic health project early in the life of a system, before any incident or damage occurs.
About PV Evolution Labs (PVEL)
PVEL is the leading independent laboratory for the downstream solar and energy storage industry. As a pioneer in bankability testing, PVEL has collected more than a decade of measured reliability and performance data for PV and storage devices. Today, PVEL offers developers, investors and asset owners a range of technical services to mitigate risk, optimize funding and improve system performance throughout the project lifecycle. PVEL’s most important product qualification programs for PV modules, inverters and energy storage systems connect the manufacturers with a global network of more than 400 downstream partners, who represent an annual purchasing power of more than 30 gigawatts. Learn how PVEL makes data important at pvel.com.