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Influence of outdoor conditions on PV module performance – an overview

Material Science & Engineering International Journal
Leqi Lin,1 Birinchi Bora,2,3 B Prasad,3 OS Sastry,2 S Mondal,3 NM Ravindra4

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The utilization of renewable sources of energy is of significant interest today. This is
particularly the case due to the growing interest in addressing global warming, carbon
footprint and the associated challenges for the environment. In this context, the enhanced
use of solar panels is relevant and timely. With a view to understand and appreciate the
fundamentals of the workings of the solar panels and the influence of the outdoor weather-
related parameters on their operational characteristics, a study is presented in this paper.
A detailed procedure for performance measurement of PV modules in outdoor conditions
is reported. Improvement in the precision of outdoor performance measurements of
photovoltaic (PV) modules is investigated for a wide range of outdoor conditions. A
comparative performance evaluation of the currently available PV modules under the
influence of humidity, irradiance and particle radiation is presented. PV parameters show
strong dependence on these outdoor conditions. The instability in solar cell modules when
reacting with water or under high humidity inhibits the high performance of solar cell
modules. Irradiation results depict that the silicon-based PV modules show a decreasing
trend of power conversion efficiency with increasing solar irradiance. The efficiency
increases with increased solar irradiance for CdTe, GaAs and CIGS solar cells in the
irradiance range of 200 to 1000 W•m-2. Tandem and multi-junction solar cells exhibit a
high-power conversion efficiency when the solar irradiance increases from 0 - 70 suns.
Perovskite solar cells have better particle radiation tolerance than silicon, III-V and CIGS
solar cells. The shading problem is discussed briefly for solar cell modules. This study is
aimed to provide valuable and comparable information on the degradation performance of
solar cells as function of humidity, irradiance and particle radiation, and serves as the basis
for future development.


outdoor conditions, PV modules, irradiation, humidity, particle radiation, shaded cell, hot-spots