Raptor Maps, a provider of solar lifecycle management software, released its third annual report on the cause and frequency of PV underperformance. The company used its solar data model to query 22 GW utility-scale PV systems and C&I in 27 countries.
In the company's 2020 report, offline inverters accounted for 27% of lost solar production. In this year's 2021 report, offline inverters only accounted for 11.8% of production downtime, suggesting technological improvements.
This report used data from aerial inspection, a technique established by owners and operators for commissioning, preventive maintenance, and warranty inspections. During the aerial inspection, site-specific circuit diagrams are merged with thermal and color image data that were captured by unmanned or manned aircraft under certain conditions.
The results are available for download here.
“This year we were surprised to find that an average of 22 additional users was added to each online report,” said Nikhil Vadhavkar, co-founder and CEO of Raptor Maps. “The data owners authorize more counterparties to access raw data and synthesized data. In particular, we have seen an increased willingness from module manufacturers and EPCs to use this data to offer owners and operators positive resolutions. “
The study covered over 70 million modules, 92 module manufacturers and 1,126 PV systems. On average, inspections of Raptor Maps found that 1.9% of electricity generation was affected, compared to 1.6% last year. The classifications included in the study include functional units such as non-nominal inverters and trackers, environmental conditions such as shading and pollution, and results at module level such as cracks and activated bypass diodes.
The global report follows a BloombergNEF (BNEF) report that predicts up to 209 GW of new solar PV systems in 2021. 84% of the modules analyzed in the Raptor Maps report are classified as BNEF Tier One. Industry tailwinds include government and corporate net zero targets, a stable supply chain, and overall low energy costs (LCOE). With this growth, developers, owners and operators increasingly need software and data-driven analytics to achieve their financial goals on a large scale.
Visit raptormaps.com for more information. For technical information on data collection logs, sample contracts, and API documentation, see docs.raptormaps.com.
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