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Evaluated over 50 utility owned/operated PV powerplants.
Lifetimes of PV systems are not well understood. The end-of-life diagnosis is predominantly due to age-related degradation and weather exposure, and the key indicator is decreased system performance. PV systems are unique in design, installation and location. As such, each system will likely have unique aging and performance degradation characteristics. For example, a system installed near a body of salt-water may age differently relative to a system installed in an inland location. As the number of photovoltaic systems installed continues to increase, understanding the range of degradation rates and factors influencing them will be valuable to determine likely power output for future planning purposes. System performance evaluations for existing projects will provide objective data on the functionality of various PV systems and subsystems, including the identification of non-functioning modules. This may lead to insights for improving O&M and support decisions on system re-powering and decommissioning, including disposal and/or recycling.
Systems will be evaluated on an economic and engineering basis to determine the optimal action, i.e., system maintenance, re-powering or decommissioning, and provide maximum strategic and financial value to the system owner.