Training course: photovoltaic module performance measurements and energy rating

Solar panels

This new open access online course has been created as part of an EMPIR project on advanced photovoltaic energy rating

The project

Recently completed European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) project Advanced PV energy rating (16ENG02, PV-Enerate) developed a new energy rating metric for photovoltaic (PV) modules, which are used to generate solar energy. The energy rating metric now takes into account real-world factors. Previously modules were sold on the basis of power produced under standard test conditions. However, these test conditions did not always reflect the real-world conditions in which PV modules would be operating. This impeded the uptake of emerging and innovative technologies, such as modules optimised for specific climates.

This EMPIR project used results from an earlier EMRP project Towards an energy-based parameter for photovoltaic classification (ENG55, PhotoClass), to support the adoption of this new metric by improving PV energy rating standards, measurement equipment and methodologies to enable precise measurements of the parameters required for the energy rating. Adopting such a metric better aligns the interests of the manufacturer and customer, provides a fairer comparison between different PV technologies, and improves the accuracy of financial models. This will accelerate time-to-market for emerging PV technologies, which have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of solar energy.

Photovoltaic module performance measurements and energy rating course

The course is aimed at photovoltaics (PV) metrologists, researchers and students working in instrument development, PV module production, industrial R&D, research institutes and universities.

Through the Photovoltaic Module Performance Measurements and Energy Rating course, PV metrologists will understand:

  • The need and importance of measurement accuracy in PV module power measurements and energy rating
  • The importance, different types, components and calibration procedures of solar simulators and reference cells
  • How to apply accurate J-V measurements according to the standard guidelines
  • How to implement temperature coefficient measurements according to standard guidelines
  • How to implement spectral response measurements and apply spectral mismatch corrections according to standard guidelines
  • The importance and principles of energy rating
  • The considerations when measuring bifacial technology PV modules

The course includes contributions from PV experts from the most prestigious test laboratories and research organisations in the field of PV metrology around Europe, including NPL, PTB, FhG, TÜV Rheinland, EC, Loughborough University and TÜBİTAK.

Project Coordinator Stefan Winter from PTB said

‘Due to an annual turnover of around 100 billion euros in the photovoltaic sector, each one percent of measurement uncertainty leads to a financial uncertainty of around 1 billion euros. That is why accurate measurements and realistic standards are so important’.

EMPIR projects are co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

EMRP joint research projects are part of EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programme. The EMRP is jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries within EURAMET and the European Union.

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