Climate Change & Energy Demand
It would be fairly needless to point out that the number one concern regarding our planets Eco future is climate change. There is no uncertainty anymore, the facts are laid bare – the way we generate and use our energy supplies is a major contributor to this. Globally, the push for implementing renewable solutions as a replacement to traditional methods of energy production and consumption has gained great momentum, and who would argue rightly so?
Although solar energy has been around for decades, the urgency in which we require change relating to our energy demand habits, together with technological advancements with photovoltaic (PV) technology; has very much propelled the modern day solar industry to the forefront in the pursuit to solving how we supply ourselves with cheap and clean electricity.
Present and future design specifications, is a pivotal factor in the role out of PV and to it’s growth worldwide, especially now that it is the go to solution to meet our energy supply demands.
Potential Induced Degradation (PID)
From a production standpoint there have always been two fundamental issues relating to solar cells suffering power loss. The one we are dealing with here is potential induced degradation or (PID) and the other which you can view at the link is – light and elevated temperature induced degradation or (leTID).
PID has been a thorn in the side for manufacturers ever since PV panel production began. However, in the modern era of solar panel production, PID research has been of paramount importance to reputable solar panel providers.
Analysis & exploration into this problem has been boundless and extensive in recent years and although not totally eradicated yet, major design improvements have taken place.
In order to gain an understanding of PID we should understand, at least on a basic level, how solar cells generate electricity in the first place.
To produce electricity, panels incorporate horizontal and vertical rows of single solar cells. Individually, each cell harnesses and gathers sunlight and as is the case with modern solar PV panels, daylight also – even through cloud cover.
From a technical viewpoint, semiconductors (solar cells) exchange charges in combination with each other and this is what produces an electrical field. This current is then passed through several components such as an inverter etc, and is then converted into green and free electricity for use around the home and business.
Solar Panels In The Early Days
Back in the first days of solar panel manufacturing ‘PID’ proved to be a huge problem for the industry. It was caused by a combination of factors including:
- Voltage leakage
- Inferior design
Unintended electrical charge carriers, which were predominately sodium ions in the panels glass, moved the current through the glass and ultimately caused leakage into the delicate solar cells beneath. In a similar way, there were huge problems with leakage relating to earthing and panel mounting components.
When PID occurred, the process by which electricity is generated was severely disrupted. This caused a solar cell to generate much less deliverable electricity than it was designed to do in the first place.
Obviously, the net result was significant losses in terms of power decline and degradation.