Reality PV

January/February 2003
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2003 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2003
Analysis of hourly metered data collected from 19 residential grid-tied PV systems in California helps to answer questions about actual system power output.
        In recent years technology advances, environmental considerations, and economic factors have contributed to an increased interest in grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) systems for homes. Well-funded support and promotional programs in Japan, Germany, and California have created active markets in these locations for this renewable distributed-generation technology.         For homeowners, builders, or designers considering installation or specification of PV technology, access to reliable performance information is critical. Performance information for individual components under nominal rating conditions is readily available. System performance under actual operating conditions is another matter altogether—and this performance information is sparse.         To fill in this information gap, in January 1999 the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Regional Economic Research, Incorporated (RER) jointly developed a project to monitor the in-field performance of PV systems that had been funded in part by the CEC’s Emerging Renewables Buydown program.         RER,the company I work for, monitored the key performance parameters of 19 PV systems for which incentives had been distributed through the CEC’s Buydown program.We collected data on energy production, power output, and net ...

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