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New classification system for photovoltaic devices

WPVS reference solar cell Fraunhofer ISE
WPVS reference solar cell Fraunhofer ISE

Commercially available reference devices for measuring energy output in real operating conditions developed in EMRP project 

Photovoltaics (PV), a method of generating electricity from solar radiation, has been rapidly growing as a viable energy source and the PV world market volume is now approximately €50 billion per year. PV devices are currently sold according to their energy output as measured under standard test conditions, which can lead to inaccurate estimates of the energy generated when measured under real operating conditions. EMRP project Towards an energy-based parameter for photovoltaic classification (ENG55 PhotoClass) will develop a new classification system of PV devices based on their energy production under different operational conditions. 

The project has developed new reference devices that exhibit stability of better than 0.1 %, and provide a wider coverage of operating conditions. These devices are now commercially available through Fraunhofer ISE. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE performs applied scientific and engineering research and development for all areas of solar energy. These references, along with others developed in the project, will provide reliable data, enabling governments and industry to make informed decisions over which PV technologies are most suitable.

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