What effects solar PV performance?

As everyone was well aware, tariff changes set by the government resulted in panic installations with little to know thought for operation and maintenance of the installations for the next 20 plus years of production.

Potential DC issues:

The DC side of installations ie the solar PV panels in our experience is the most common issues that effect production, whether a ground or roof mount system DC cables are open to the elements, sub zero temperatures in the winter along with intense rain and then constant sun irradiance in the summer months.

This effects the PVC protection and weakens solar connectors known as MC4 connections.

Usually a DC cable (string) will comprise of 20-26 PV modules equating to approximately 600-800v producing around 10-16A.

These lethal direct current voltages require respect when installing using the appropriate UV and moisture protection.

These DC cables often situated on barn roofs or in under ground ducting deuterate under ambient conditions and begin leaking voltage to the ground causing what is known as low insulation resistance readings.

This is the relationship between L and E, this issue begins to loose production and if not monitored a potential fire risk.

Last year saw one of the most lucrative years for production in solar PV – this saw systems labouring at full production day after day causing components to fail resulting in our engineers attending 7 DC fires

Farming conditions causing outages:

Many other aspects of the farming environment such as generator testing, in balances in grid frequency to poor ventilation to inverters can result in parts or all the installation to stop production.

Many farming environments are very dusty, this can settle on the modules and over time effect performance, we recommend washing down modules each year using de-ironised water.

Solar PV performance testing.

Simon Hopkins
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