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Losses in Solar PV System: Part 2: Soiling, Snow, Inverter

Understanding the importance of Losses in Solar PV system is crucial in maximizing energy production and reducing losses. As a solar installer, it’s necessary to be aware of the environmental factors and AC-side losses that can impact energy output. Accurate production estimates are essential for homeowners to make informed decisions about their renewable energy projects during both the design and operation phases. This article will focus on the exploration of losses caused by environmental factors and the AC side.

Types of Losses:

Soiling Losses

soiling loss

Soiling Loss, which is the buildup of soil and dust particles on solar panels, is a major cause of power soiling losses in pv modules. It reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the panels, which can deteriorate the paint on the panels and cause permanent damage. The accumulation of soil creates shading by blocking the sun’s rays, thus affecting the performance of the photovoltaic cells. Shading caused by pollution, mist, and fog can be washed away with water, but shading caused by dust, soil, and bird droppings can only be removed through maintenance. The extent of soiling loss solar depends on the geographical location and wind velocity in the area. Windier climates result in increased soiling losses.

Periodic cleaning, either scheduled or based on real-time monitoring software recommendations, can reduce soiling losses. Bird droppings are another type of soiling loss that affects only specific cells. If bypass diodes are not present, this can affect the entire string. Unlike soiling, bird droppings cannot be cleaned by regular rain and must be removed through manual cleaning.

Soiling losses pertain to the measurement of sunlight obstruction caused by the accumulation of dirt and debris on solar panels as time progresses. Analogous to the way a car’s windshield can gather and disperse light due to minor dust and dirt accumulation, so do solar panels. The extent of soiling can vary significantly depending on the geographical location of a solar system. Factors such as the prevailing wind conditions, the level of dirt exposure, local traffic patterns, the frequency and intensity of rainfall, and the presence of avian populations in the area all contribute to its impact.

Snow Losses

Snow Losses

Determining snow loss in a solar system can be difficult because it varies greatly depending on the site. Rather than calculating it annually, snow loss is typically assessed monthly, with losses in some regions reaching 20% during winter.

The amount of sunlight blocked by snow cover on solar panels depends on factors such as panel tilt, snow duration and intensity, and temperature. Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show that snow clearance is mainly due to sliding, but this depends on the panels’ arrangement relative to the roof and available space for snow to fall.

Incidence Angle Modifier(IAM) Loss

Incidence Angle Modifier Loss

Incidence angle modifiers (IAMs) can be used to account for optical losses on the array surface when the solar angle of incidence is greater than zero. When the array surface is not perfectly parallel to the sun’s rays, some energy is lost to reflection from the module surface materials.

What is the ideal tilt angle for a solar panel?

When placing panels at a tilt equal to the latitude of the installation and facing the equator, the amount of incident irradiance on the panels will be maximized.

Solar PV System Degradation Loss

Solar PV System Degradation Loss

There are many different components that make up a silicon solar panel, including silicon wafers, connecting busbars, encapsulants, glass and polymer backing sheets, and other electrical connectors. Almost anything technical will lose its efficiency over time, including solar cells.

In this situation, the system is said to be degrading. As a result of weakened electrical connections within a cell, the current is “leaked” within the cell rather than being used to power loads, and discolouration and damage occur to the layers in front of the cells, which reduces light penetration into the cells.

Inverter Losses

Inverter Losses

Inverter efficiency describes the ratio of energy input and output. With Inverter Losses PV Systems and PV panels, it is important to consider the inverter’s capability to convert DC energy into usable AC. Your inverter’s efficiency will change based on various factors, such as if you have a large or small system or if it is an oversized or undersized one—but these changes are small compared to the overall system performance.

An inverter’s real power output, or power factor, inverter power loss can be affected by a number of factors including the time of day and year, outside air temperature and humidity, whether the inverter is under load or not, and more.

Inverter Clipping

Inverter Clipping

Solar Inverter clipping occurs when the output of a solar PV system at its maximum power point is greater than the amount of DC power that can be converted by an inverter. This results in a loss of energy production and reduced overall performance of the system. This loss typically occurs when the sun is high in the sky and on sunny days when shading from clouds is less.

Regular maintenance, including monitoring and reporting, can help reduce these clipping losses solar and optimize the performance of a solar plant. The use of AI-powered cloud-based software like Futr OS can provide deep analytics and actionable insights to help you achieve your optimization goals. Futr Energy also uses drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to identify and minimize O&M wastes.

Managing a solar plant with the best data and analytics can help maximize returns and achieve optimization goals.

Originally published at futr.energy/knowledge

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