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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Concerted actions on PV systems technology and coordination of PV systems development

Exploitable results

Photovoltaic (PV) system technologies have advanced considerably in Europe in the past decade. There are many plants already installed and operational in Europe. Consequently there is a considerable amount of technical knowledge about all aspects of developing and operating a PV system. It was therefore proposed that a concerted action project should be established to help European PV experts to combine their expertise and therefore to assist in accelerating improvements in PV technology. The objective was to provide a forum for collaborative projects to take place between participants in a number of European countries and to establish further improvements to state-of-the-art knowledge in PV technology. The forum's specific work areas focused on the development of methodologies, guidelines, and procedures to benefit current and future PV applications. Work was carried out in 6 areas: PV system technology development; PV array and solar sensors; batteries; power conditioning; plant control, monitoring and management; modelling and simulation. A task force also carried out an assessment of PV plant performance, investigating a range of PV plants operating in Europe. This assessment identified problems and then developed guidelines for developing and operating PV plants in the future. Finally, the project team developed a computer software tool for modelling, sizing and simulating the behaviour of PV plants. With 14 partners and subcontractors from 9 Member States, this project was able to draw on a vast wealth of European PV expertise. Outputs from the collaborative activities included the following: a high precision, low cost solar sensor; portable test equipment for on-site inverter testing; guidelines for calibration, operation and maintenance of PV components and systems; and a PV battery handbook. The results demonstrated the need for low-cost and reliable batteries specifically designed for PV applications. Overall, the results from this collaborative work could contribute to a cost reduction for PV plants of more than 20% as a consequence of improved product quality and reduced labour costs.

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