As of the first quarter of the project, a chapter on the “Characterization and Power Measurement of IPV Cells” was written and published in the book entitled “Indoor Photovoltaics”. At three-quarters of the project time, two open access publications were produced highlighting project outcomes. Furthermore, five presentations and three posters on project results were presented at international and European conferences, such as NEWRAD 2021 and the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibitions (EU PVSEC) in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The project leadership in several important standardisation projects related to PV metrology has been taken over by members of the consortium, e.g., revisions to the standards IEC 60904-8, IEC 61853-1, IEC 61853-2 and IEC 61853-3. The consortium has also contributed to a new normative document IEC/TS 62607-7-2.
A Wiki about PV metrology (wiki.pvmet.org) was built and published online. Over the time further articles were written and existing articles were updated.
Impact on industrial and other user communities
This project directly supports the PV community, i.e. PV manufacturers and suppliers, with new and improved measurement capabilities for emerging PV technologies and applications. In addition to the PV industry, the defined measurement procedures for indoor-PV could be utilised by all industries that are using self-sustaining Internet of Things devices with a PV power supply. Industry 4.0 concepts using wireless sensor technologies from the Internet of Things ecosystem will benefit from the project due to the more accurate determination of the device efficiency in a realistic indoor lighting environment.
Hence, this project will support the penetration of these emerging PV products (perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells/modules and indoor-PV) into the PV market. This will enable cost reductions in PV applications.
Impact on the metrology and scientific communities
The development of reference PV devices for emerging PV technologies and procedures for their calibration, sets an important basis for the metrology and scientific PV community. The improved facilities and procedures elaborated within this project will allow NMIs, calibration laboratories, and research institutes to gain competence in the field of emerging PV technologies and enable traceable measurements to be conducted with the lowest possible uncertainties (2 % instead of 3 %).
So far, the consortium has developed two new measurement services with reduced measurement uncertainties and reference cells for emerging PV devices which are ready for commercial exploitation.
Impact on relevant standards
The project will enable the extension of existing standards (e.g. IEC 61853) to a more precise estimation of the energy output of a PV installation, thereby reducing the financial risk to investors and leading to higher investment in this type of renewable energy. Technical reports on the measurement uncertainties of the most important measurement standards (IEC 60904-1 and the IEC 60904-8) will be produced. These will complement the existing standards by providing a detailed uncertainty assessment, whilst removing their current significant limitations. In addition, this project will contribute to developments of new standards for indoor-PV.
Longer-term economic, social and environmental impacts
According to a 2020 European Commission report, PV “is uniquely positioned to help achieve the EU's energy transition and climate change objectives as well as to support EU jobs and economic growth in the context of the Green Deal.” “To reach a 55 % GHG emissions reduction [by 2030], it is estimated that the cumulative
PV capacity in the EU and the UK would need to reach 455–605 GWDC. This implies a CAGR between 12 and 15 %.” (CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate).
At the start of the project, the annual value of the global market for photovoltaics was estimated at 100 billion Euros. This is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead as emerging PV claim an ever-larger market share. Attracting continuing investment in the technology depends on providing the means to reduce the financial risks for investors. A percentage improvement in the uncertainties of measurements used to determine the power ratings of PV applications, and by extension their estimated energy yields, would reduce the total financial uncertainty of investments by 1 billion Euros.
The harmonised measurement methods for new technologies together with reduced measurement uncertainties will contribute to a clear reduction of the investment risk. It will empower consumers by enhancing a metric for PV efficiency based on energy output under European climate conditions by adding uncertainty evaluations to it and considering shading effects. This will allow a risk assessment of these predictions that is currently less precise, and thus it will enable system planners and financial institutions to optimise their services. Some decisions on how to invest public (government) and private (industry/consumers) money in PV are being made based on power and efficiency numbers that do not correlate with the energy output under operational conditions and give limited indication of the risks involved. These risks are related to the financial pay back expectation, and for systems consisting of tandem modules, the physical properties may lead to operation under conditions which result in significantly lower outputs than expected. Better understanding and harmonised characterisation of the effects on the energy generation of emerging PV technologies will significantly mitigate the investment risks for end users.
Based on the project’s outputs, industry will be able to optimise their emerging products for more realistic operating conditions. This will increase the competitiveness of PV industries where Europe holds a leading position.
Foreseeable impacts of the project are:
- Fair and impartial assessment of emerging technologies. This reduces deployment risk and accelerates time to market. For SMEs especially, it is important to show their achievements in a timely manner. Delays affect the R&D development and potential market impact of EU technology.
- Local certification of PV efficiency. This avoids IP-leakage that has been reported especially in the certification of some thin-film devices.
- The development of a high-quality traceable measurement technique will protect European enterprises and end-users against cheap, but low-grade photovoltaic products.
- Support for sustainable and renewable European energy generation.
- The typically decentralised energy generation pattern of photovoltaic systems supports local employment policy and thus improves the socioeconomics in Europe.
- The dissemination of good metrology practice and novel PV measurement methodologies to European industry will enhance productivity by the improvement of quality control and hence reduced wastage.
- Appropriate PV metrology, based on the characteristics, will enable photovoltaic systems to thrive in an even more competitive power market, potentially enabling PV systems to bid subsidy-free into the free power market.
This project will meet the essential requirements for reducing the investment risk associated with initiating new large-scale PV installations, for removing barriers to entering the marketplace and thus it will accelerate the overall cost reduction of photovoltaics by delivering key enabling metrological research.