Solar Energy, Vol.188, 1134-1145, 2019
Site-specific assessment of mechanical loads on photovoltaic modules from meteorological reanalysis data
This work demonstrates the capability of meteorological reanalysis data for estimating mechanical stresses due to wind gusts on photovoltaic modules. Besides the immediate power loss caused by the inactive solar cell areas within the module, the influence of cracks induced by such mechanical loads on the ageing and degradation behavior of PV modules is in the focus of current PV reliability research. To choose and/or design the optimum module for a given deployment site at the most economical cost, the mechanical loads the module will be exposed to during its service life need to be estimated. Hence, this paper introduces a new methodology for assessing and deducing site-specific mechanical load scenarios which are expected to be imposed on photovoltaic modules by wind gusts for a given location. The approach presented here is based on the linear calibration of meteorological reanalysis data with publicly available and standardized high-quality surface weather station data of local weather services. In this fashion, site-specific mechanical load scenarios can be deduced for virtually any site covered by the respective reanalysis data set. These scenarios can be used for developing site specific module qualification tests, thereby providing a methodology enabling climate-specific module designs or specifications. This methodology can also be transferred to virtually any location and other climate and weather parameters such as snow loads, UV dose, etc. Hence a complete assessment of all weather-related degradation scenarios could be deduced eventually.