Maximizing financial returns on Solar PV projects might not be very expensive, but how do we get there?
FREMONT, CA: The easiest way to maximize the financial returns on solar projects appears to be by driving down the upfront costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems by purchasing low-quality components. But when the focus is on the long-term return of the project is prioritized instead of short-term payback, the results can be quite surprising.
How do we Maximize Returns?
The specific features that should be giving attention to before choosing a solar module to avail higher return of investment are nameplate power rating, the module’s PVusa Test Conditions (PTC) rating. The nameplate power rating is a rough proxy of expected output and the power tolerance associated with it. The crystalline silicon (c-SI) solar module has a tolerance limit of approximately minus three to plus three percent, depicting that the actual power rating obtained could be significantly lower than the nameplate rating. Additionally, a more extensive range of power tolerance can result in high module mismatch losses and decreases the overall system output for a given nameplate rating.
The PTC rating depicts the measured value of the power output of the modules under more realistic environmental conditions. PTC ratings are used by many states to predict the number of cash rebates.
Manufacturers of higher quality modules offer a stronger warranty as they have more confidence in their modules. The average PV module manufacturers always guarantee that their product will degrade in output within 10 percent in the initial 10 years, and no more than 20 percent till 25 years. However, there are modules available that assure then three percent degradation in the first year and less than half of that annually. A reliable and durable module will result in reducing the risk of complications with the system and decreases the amount of maintenance required.
The consideration should be decided in terms of the history of quality and stability of the company underwriting a performance guarantee. However, there exist several PV manufacturers who have a proven long-term track record. Smart investors have been putting their money behind projects by those who have confidence in their systems, which use higher quality PV modules because they provide a higher long-term return on the project with less risk.