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Identifying PV module mismatch faults by a thermography-based temperature distribution analysis

Hu, Yihua and Cao, Wenping and Ma, Jien and Finney, Stephen J. and Li, David (2014) Identifying PV module mismatch faults by a thermography-based temperature distribution analysis. IEEE Transactions on Device and Materials Reliability, 14 (4). pp. 951-960. ISSN 1530-4388

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Abstract

Photovoltaic solar power generation is proven to be effective and sustainable but is currently hampered by relatively high costs and low conversion efficiency. This paper addresses both issues by presenting a low-cost and efficient temperature distribution analysis for identifying PV module mismatch faults by thermography. Mismatch faults reduce the power output and cause potential damage to PV cells. This paper firstly defines three fault categories in terms of fault levels, which lead to different terminal characteristics of the PV modules. The investigation of three faults is also conducted analytically and experimentally and maintenance suggestions are also provided for different fault types. The proposed methodology is developed to combine the electrical and thermal characteristics of PV cells subjected to different fault mechanisms through simulation and experimental tests. Furthermore, the fault diagnosis method can be incorporated into the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) schemes to shift the operating point of the PV string. The developed technology has improved over the existing ones in locating the faulty cell by a thermal camera, providing a remedial measure and maximizing the power output under faulty conditions.