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In-field assessment of batteries and PV modules in a large photovoltaic rural electrification programme

Publication date: Available online 23 August 2014
Source:Energy
Author(s): L.M. Carrasco , L. Narvarte , F. Martínez-Moreno , R. Moretón
Assuring the sustainability of quality in photovoltaic rural electrification programmes involves enhancing the reliability of the components of solar home systems as well as the characterization of the overall programme cost structure. Batteries and photovoltaic modules have a great impact on both the reliability and the cost assessment, the battery being the weakest component of the solar home system and consequently the most expensive element of the programme. The photovoltaic module, despite being the most reliable component, has a significant impact cost-wise on the initial investment, even at current market prices. This paper focuses on the in-field testing of both batteries and photovoltaic modules working under real operating conditions within a sample of 41 solar home systems belonging to a large photovoltaic rural electrification programme with more than 13,000 installed photovoltaic systems. Different reliability parameters such as lifetime have been evaluated, taking into account different factors, for example energy consumption rates, or the manufacturing quality of batteries. A degradation model has been proposed relating both loss of capacity and time of operation. The user – solar home system binomial is also analysed in order to understand the meaning of battery lifetime in rural electrification.


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