Beyond Improving Components: System Level Optimisation
For a continued decrease of levelised costs of electricity from photovoltaics (PV), the prices of modules, inverters and balance of system (BOS) components have to be further decreased while performance, functionality, reliability and lifetime on the component and system level need to be increased. The PV industry has made large technological progress with PV cells, modules and inverters in terms of costs and reliability. However, in an integrated view, PV system performance emerges from, but is not limited to the performance of the components. Consequently, Performance Plus explicitly focuses on the PV system rather than on the component level. Modules and inverters are studied with focus on their functioning within a system. The main idea of the project is to optimise the system as a whole rather than the separate components only.
The consortium aims at developing and demonstrating models and tools, beyond the state of the art, for monitoring, control and testing of PV systems, thus serving to optimize and enhance the performance, reliability and lifetime of commercial PV systems. Means for a better integration of PV-generated electricity into the power system shall be provided by methods for short-term forecasting, integrated energy management and storage control, PV system monitoring and control. The goal is to improve the competitiveness of PV on the system level. This will be achieved by optimising the system as a whole rather than the separate components only.
The resulting collection of tools (toolbox) will be applicable to the decisive phases in the life cycle of a PV plant, namely, design, operation and maintenance. All R&D results and models will be validated with empirical data. The resulting tools will be demonstrated.
The specific scientific and technical objectives of Performance Plus are:
- Robust system design modelling for diligent design and bankability,
- Robust operational modelling for optimising the system output,
- Integrated energy management and storage control,
- Real time monitoring and control: sensors communication and feedback,
- Hardware and software tools for testing,
- Validation, demonstration and target control.
Scheduled for 36 months, Performance Plus is financed by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.