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'[TECH]Photovoltaic panel costs revamped.'
| According to the BBC science page, 90 % of current solar panels will
last at least 30 years rather than the considered standard of 20.
This claim is from the EU Energy Institute, and they predict that 40
year life PV panels will be on the market shortly.
According to their research Italy (which has high electricity costs)
will reach grid cost parity in 2010 and the less sunny parts of Europe
As a personal aside, I fail to see why scientists advising governments
don't take the emphasis of alternative power reaching baseline
generation for grid distribution and turn it into micro generation
either at individual dwelling or street level - which IMHO is far more
achievable with current technology, leaving current base load to drive
the very high, but short usage items in the home.
> According to the BBC science page, 90 % of current solar panels will
> last at least 30 years rather than the considered standard of 20.
> This claim is from the EU Energy Institute, and they predict that 40
> year life PV panels will be on the market shortly.
YMMV - see below.
> According to their research Italy (which has high electricity costs)
> will reach grid cost parity in 2010 and the less sunny parts of Europe
> by 2030.
Elsewhere the leading CIGS panel maker define grid parity as about
$1/Watt with panel at $US0.80/Watt and infrastructure at $0.20. You
can get panels FOB China now for $US1.70/Watt. maybe less?
Excellent insolation and other climate data at http://www.gaisma.com
> As a personal aside, I fail to see why scientists advising governments
> don't take the emphasis of alternative power reaching baseline
> generation for grid distribution and turn it into micro generation
> either at individual dwelling or street level - which IMHO is far more
> achievable with current technology, leaving current base load to drive
> the very high, but short usage items in the home.
That's what grid tie can achieve where the administration allows and
is done in some places.
AFAIK the UK installed (NZ designed) Whispergen Stirling cogen units
work on this basis with heat being used in premises and mains power
being available for grid use.
A fraught issue is the cost per unit that such energy is paid for at.
Suppliers would like to pay wholesale bulk charges at best, homeowners
would like to receive at least retail rate (which is effectively what
you get if your meter allows bidirectional energy flow) and in some
cases home owners get in excess of retail rate due to subsidies /
PV panel longevity:
PV panel longevity, after best practice is used, depends heavily on
the quality of the "EVA" adhesive used to bond the panels. The typical
Low iron Glass - EVA - PV Silicon - EVA - Tedlar.
The Tedlar backing sheet (may be other material) serves both as sealer
and important antireflective coating. Up to several % efficiency gain
can be achieved from inobvious reflection property manipulation.
The EVA "quality" depends on manufacturer, and material from Asian
sources without 'technology transfer' from more capable manufacturers
(or who care less) *MAY* have a lower lifetime. This doesn't HAVE to
be the case but in enough cases is. Highly reputable manufacturers
will quote the sources of their glass, PV material, EVA and backing
sheets. Also relevant are lamination times and temperatures. EVA
crosslinking takes about 20 minutes at typical press temperatures and
where time is money there is no doubt the tendency to minimise time in
the lamination press. Cross linking above or below about 80% affects
panel life and/or performance.
In an Asian factory where I spent some time a while ago, the manager
told me that he used only German sourced EVA from a specific
manufacturer in order to achieve maximum panel longevity.
I was reading a Chinese-manufactured EVA material spec literally a few
days ago and they had two grades - one was quicker laminating than the
other and contained the bracketed note "(mainly for use in China)."
Conclusions, possibly erroneous, may be drawn :-).
I have seen reports of panels lasting well over 30 years and I have a
50 Watt panel of about that vintage which still performs OK despite
partial water intrusion in one area. (I got it"broken" - a connection
had corroded where it entered the panel and was repairable.)
I've also heard of EVA starting to fail at under 20 years.
The actual silicon PV material does have a long term degradation
mechanism but it is slow. Typical industry claims overall are 5% loss
at 10 years and 10% more up to 25 years total. I've seen some recently
offering (AFAIR) 5% total at 25 years, but I have no idea whether this
is based on any factual basis.
Applied Technology ltd
'[TECH]Photovoltaic panel costs revamped.'
> > According to the BBC science page, 90 % of current solar panels will
> > last at least 30 years rather than the considered standard of 20.
> > This claim is from the EU Energy Institute, and they predict that 40
> > year life PV panels will be on the market shortly.
Superb PV panel longevity report.
Compares a range of adhesives with EVA in terms of performance and cost.
Discusses accelerated testing and the factors relevant to testing decisions.
Note that, at least with EVA, loss of adhesion under UV-B irradiation,
and not degradation in optical transmission is the major longevity
factor. Panels which notionally have 30 or 40 year lifetimes either
require other adhesives than EVA or a way of improving its UV
resistance. Any added optical filtering in the outer layer also has
to address its effect on overall efficiency.
Adhesives superior to EVA are available, but overall cost benefit
makes EVA the industry preferred solution. Higher material-cost
alternatives may offer advantages due to their curing requirements -
EVA requires relatively long periods at elevated temperature and
pressure to establish the necessary cross linking. Room temperatrure
curing silicone rubbers may allow enhanced production throughput in
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On Thu, 3 Dec 2009, Russell McMahon wrote:
Ah, the magic word, "efficiency".
It's all well and good looking at long term payback but if I've learned anything 30 years is a VERY long time in this industry. At some point (well before the projected end of life of a PV panel) I would expect advances in PV cells to improve efficency to the point were old fully functioning PV panels are replaced with new ones just because they produce MUCH more energy.
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