The objective of TRUSTPV is to reach a demonstrated increase in performance and reliability of solar PV components (through O&M-friendly PV module design, robust reliable inverter solutions, aftermarket coatings), solar PV systems (disruptive engineering concepts, accurate design, construction, operation, repowering and decommissioning), and in large portfolios of distributed and utility-scale solar PV (digital twins, advanced forecasting, statistical analysis). The TRUSTPV results will be tested and demonstrated from fab to field and all data gathered along the value chain will flow into a decision support system platform with enhanced decision-making using AI based on and beyond Industry 4.0 concepts.
To increase the reliability and lifetime of systems components by reducing the number of failures and failure lifetime.
OBJECTIVE 1: At PV module level, technical risks affecting PV plant performance are either linked to the intrinsic quality of the bill of materials and manufacturing process or to external factors which are highly site dependent (e.g. soiling, shading, high UV exposure, high humidity, mechanical stress). Innovative PV modules need to be designed with 2 targets in mind: i) high reliability to reduce failures in the field and ii) selection of materials to enable effective detection techniques in the field.
To increase the knowledge on the performance and establish cost-effective fault diagnostic models of medium-size commercial-residential systems.
OBJECTIVE 2: The rooftop segment has a global share of newly installed capacity of around 30%, 30 GW in 2018. Most of these PV systems do not have a monitoring system, which is perceived as a cost rather than an asset, thus there is no continuous control on the performance. TRUST-PV will develop cost-effective solutions to provide also the medium size commercial-residential market with a risk
To increase the design accuracy and the reliability and performance of utility-scale and large commercial solar PV systems through the use of advances and automated functions for data analysis, diagnosis and fault detection.
OBJECTIVE 3: The size of utility-scale solar PV becomes everyday more a challenge in terms of design and maintenance. Non uniform meteo conditions, challenging landscape, complex layout, large number of components to monitor are only a few of the issues which contribute towards their complexity. TRUST-PV will innovate with, among other things, more accurate yield assessment, insights for floating PV plants, analysis of more than 6 GW of data from more than 7,000 solar PV power plants.
To allow higher solar PV penetration levels by improving the operational stability at the point of connection and ensure grid friendliness.
Objective 4: The large increase in distributed generation creates imbalance as the communication between DSO and TSO is affected by the error in forecasting the residual load. Overgeneration and fluctuations by large PV systems connected to the MV and HV can introduce grid issues which are typically solved by curtailment.
To combine all the information coming from various stakeholders along the whole PV value chain into a platform for enhanced decision-making using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the invaluable human field experience.
OBJECTIVE 5:Vast amount of information created along each step of a PV project is typically not transferred from stakeholder to stakeholder. What is transferred remains difficult to use in a systematic way locking the possibility to track with ease the history of each component and the choices in PV plant design. TRUST-PV will unlock this potential by relying on digitalisation, creating Digital Twins and Big Data analysis.
To increase the sustainability of utility-scale and large commercial systems through progressive repowering interventions to reduce environmental impact and guarantee yield for an extended lifetime.
OBJECTIVE 6: The O&M contractor takes a leading role in the recycling process, by insourcing the service and closing the loop. By the time the end-of-life of the plant is reached, the O&M contractor, if supported by module level monitoring, will be able to cluster the modules into two categories: the ones to be dismantled and sent to the recycling facility and the ones (still healthy enough) to
be used in the secondary market.
LAYER 1 | COMPONENTS
O&M and grid-friendly solar PV components.
RESULT 1: Actual high quality and high-performance products present on the market have characteristics that are usually production-cost driven since the PV manufacturers are not energy producers, and their main aim is to sell in big volumes on the market. To address this, TRUSTPV will develop:
- Antireflective coatings with improved performance (DSM)
- O&M-friendly solar PV modules considering the needs of O&M contractors such as reduced weight and reduced number of failures (Enel Green Power)
- Inverter enabling automatic field inspection (Huawei)
- Innovative PV modules passive cooling (TU Delft)
- Power Plant Controller enabling grid friendliness (Inaccess).
Application and climate-tailored testing beyond existing standards
RESULT 2: PV systems need to generate reliable and safe power throughout their predicted lifetime of more than 25 years of operation while being subjected to a wide range of environmental conditions, sometimes even extreme conditions. Certified modules should go through extended testing to learn more on long-term behavior and to benchmark products. This is where extended test cycles from the basic test enter the game. Extended testing reaches areas of application for different environmental impacts which are not covered by basis testing. TÜV Rheinland will apply extended test sequences for current and novel PV module design such as floating PV and bifacial PV in order to increase the 25 years of service lifetime. These benchmarking exercises will support the qualification measures for a more accurate PV plant design and higher quality procurement.
Context-sensitive PV plant components benchmarking based on monitoring data from over 6 GW of PV plants under operation and Big Data analytics.
RESULT 3: There are not many relevant studies evaluating the contextual parameters from monitored data, e.g., micro-climate and environment, UV radiation, module or inverter type in more detail. As part of TRUST-PV, 3E will develop a context-sensitive PV plant component benchmarking based on monitoring data for the solar PV industry where for example, PV developers could derive the reallife impact on the system losses and reliability of design choices and configuration during design phase while O&M operators could optimize their replacement cycle of components and maintenance routines during the operational phase.
LAYER 2 | system
More accurate energy yield prediction for PV systems with novel technologies and system layout.
Result 4: Currently, state-of-the-art energy yield simulation tools are either incomplete or computationally intense, therefore not suitable for calculating the lifetime performance – especially for utility – scale PV systems – resulting in incorrect energy yield estimations. TRUST-PV aims to develop more realistic and resilient models for lifetime PV energy yield simulations and predictions in residential (TU Delft) and utility scale systems (Imec) by improving the accuracy, in terms of RMSE, to <5%.
Result 5: Repowering is the replacement of old, power production related components of a PV plant by new components to enhance its overall performance, by increasing its nominal power. There are several reasons why repowering of PV plants can be a necessary and/or beneficial investment: aging PV assets, unavailability of spare parts and support, technological improvements, decreasing prices. BayWa r.e. aims to leap beyond the current state of the art by exploiting the Decision Support System (see Result 10) that will collect the assets’ data, including all the technical considerations, up-to-date market and financial figures, as well as the stakeholders’ expectations. The platform will then automatically analyse the Progressive Repowering scenarios and will provide the best solutions available, suggesting the right moments to (progressively) perform component substitutions and optimal string reconfiguration to minimise mismatch losses.
Augmented Reality for improved skills of O&M operators and disruptive concepts for PV systems engineering.
Result 6: Currently, topographical information of the terrains for design and simulation of solar PV sites are not always at the required level of accuracy. TRUST-PV proposes an extremely accurate 3D modelling technique for both topographical information of the terrain and 3D model of existing solar PV plants and shading scenes. Above Surveying will develop a 3D modelling technique using UAVs for existing PV plants to achieve an extremely accurate top-down image in precise geographical coordinates. PVcase software will ingest these 3D models to produce the
topographical layouts of the PV plants where all elements are in their true geographical locations, to an extremely high level of accuracy and precision.
Wireless Sensor Networks using Narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G
technology for on-site sensors such as energy meters for combined AI – physics based diagnostic
RESULT 7: Nowadays, there is a wide range of commercial systems for monitoring both small and large grid-connected PV installations. However, in most commercial solutions present the Acquisition and Communication Layer connects with Pretreatment and Record Layer by wired connection. Thus,
the installation and the maintenance activities on those networks are difficult and expensive. Raptech will introduce innovation by using new technologies such as Narrowband IoT and the fifth generation of standards for connections for mobile devices (5G) with ultra-high-speed mobile
connections. Narrowband IoT and 5G will enable a much larger number of devices without impacting the connection speed.
Automated fault diagnostic based on combined image analysis (PL/IR/EL/UV) and
RESULT 8: Field PV diagnostics, mainly in the form of infrared (IR) and electroluminescence (EL) imaging – and recently the emerging ultraviolet fluorescence (UVF) imaging – are PV O&M tools typically auxiliary to string/inverter level PV monitoring. Often combined with analysis of electrical signatures, these inspection methods can identify, with high spatial resolution, the (potential) presence or evolvement of different failure modes of PV modules and their exact physical location in a PV plant. These solutions are increasingly being combined with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), as an emerging best practice in solar O&M. TRUST-PV will leap beyond the current state-of-the-art by developing novel machine-learning algorithms for fully automated imagery-based fault diagnostics.
Large database for failure rates calculation, mitigation measures and failure rate reduction functional to a fully integrated CPN methodology including grid and novel PV plant design
RESULT 9: In the Horizon 2020 project Solar Bankability Eurac Research and TÜV Rheinland developed the CPN methodology for the assessment of the economic impact of failures in the field. The methodology is based on the calculation of costs due to downtime and costs due to repair/substitution of the failed component. In TRUST-PV Eurac Research and TÜV Rheinland will continue with the development of the CPN methodology. The boundaries of the CPN methodology will be expanded to include the grid in terms of failures, performance reduction due to unavailability. This will be done by also integrate data from Power Plant Controllers. The CPN methodology will also include failures from floating PV.
Decision support platform from fab to field
RESULT 10: The detection of failures in the field and the subsequent action are triggered by (1) periodic field inspection which are contractual obligations for O&M operators, and (2) alarms generated by monitoring systems. State-of-the-art commercial solutions for PV monitoring allow for monitoring the operational state of PV systems and pinpointing performance issues in real-time and high temporal granularity. Yet, particularly for utility-scale PV systems, monitoring and diagnostic needs are significantly complex and demanding. As of today, detection and assessment of underperformance in PV plants are typically executed in a semi-manual top-down approach, which may often result in underperformance issues, undetected faults or “false alarms”. SAIDEA will introduce an ICT solution dedicated to the PV sector based on their platform ANTARES to introduce and demonstrate a novel PV O&M decision-making platform, leveraging interoperability of PV monitoring, yield simulation and diagnostic data.
LAYER 3 – Point of connection / solar PV fleet
Fully flexible and interoperable PV plants solutions
RESULT 11: The role of PV systems in future smart grids is evolving from a simplistic grid supportive passive player (providing local grid supportive control) into a fully responsive and intelligent energy logical node with active part in grid communicative and supportive operations. This evolutionary technological step poses demanding requirements for fully digitalised and automated PV power plants. FOSS and INACCESS will analyse the requirement towards achieving universal interoperability for PV power plants and demonstrate robust technical capabilities for integrating fast high-quality data, Big Data analytics and improving and harmonising data quality requirements for future grid topologies. EURAC will use the results to calculate the day-ahead transmission scheduling for the TSO and provide recommendations to contain imbalance with the development of fully flexible PV concept. Solar Monkey will improve the performance monitoring of a large distributed solar PV portfolio, and define strategies to increase self-consumption using Huawei inverters.
Use of forecasting for advanced diagnostic and grid dispatch
RESULT 12: An accurate forecasting of the cloud cover within the next 30 minutes is of paramount importance for the development of various activities which need a real-time management and are dependent on the sky vault situation. Current ground-based cameras forecasting the cloud cover operate on the visible spectrum. Reuniwatt has developed and patented such an infrared all-sky imager, called the Sky InSight™ which will be used in TRUST-PV to improve short-term forecasting. Intraday irradiance forecasting is useful to plan the energy mix. In particular, the PV power drop probability in the next hours allows a convenient sizing of power reserves. Reuniwatt will use the geostationary meteorological satellites’ rapid scanning services to obtain images more frequently and therefore improve intraday forecasts
Enhanced Digital Twin concept
RESULT 13: Current state of the art Digital Twin concepts use basic ground data and weather models to identify such discrepancies. However, ground data can lead to errors if the instruments are not well calibrated or maintained and weather models are not necessarily sufficiently refined for a
specific site. Reuniwatt and Above Surveying will bring in their state-of-the art concepts, SunSat™ and SolarGain, respectively, to address these challenges. In addition, the state-of-the-art data analytics platform of Above Surveying, SolarGain will be improved and expanded to provide the
necessary features to store and to ingest and present the full historical data (from fabrication to field) of each component.