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Research: 98% of UK PV arrays working ‘to spec’

Almost all of the 2,000 solar arrays in a two-year university research project are performing as well as specified by their manufacturers.

Researchers from the Sheffield Solar Farm project, run by Sheffield University’s physics department, have found that 98% of the 2,000 PV systems in the scheme are working to their specification.

Data for the project has been gathered over the past two years from British homeowners with PV systems uploading data on their performance on to a dedicated website.

Dr Alistair Buckley, a university lecturer who is leading the project, said he was surprised that so many of the units were operating so well.

He said: “There are basically three main technology types that have been deployed in the UK, and they are all working well – that is ‘to spec’. They do what they say on the tin most of the time.

“About 2% of systems we have data for are clearly under-performing, all the rest fall within a broad distribution with the obvious factors such as local climate and roof orientation controlling the energy yield. We would have expected more systems to be under-performing – but it seems that the UK weather, with its lack of direct sunshine, actually makes installations less sensitive to orientation than might be expected.”

Buckley’s team is hoping to launch a separate research project investigating the deployment of energy storage technologies.

Solar Power Portal
Date: 12/11/2012
Author: Ben Willis

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