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Another Solar Power Plant Damaged by Hail! How Can Solar Panels Guarantee Product Quality in Response To Extreme Weather?

Views: 1000     Author: Rachel     Publish Time: 03-29-2024      Origin: pv-magazine

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Recently, the 350 MW Fighting Jays solar project in Southeast Texas was damaged by "golf ball-sized" hailstorms, which once again raised concerns about the ability of solar modules to withstand risk.

It is reported that the project, owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and AP Solar Holdings, began commercial operations in July 2022. Currently, CIP is conducting a detailed analysis of the damage to the power station.

“We are currently assessing the extent of the impact of the storm on the generation of the project, while the plant continues to safely operate at a reduced capacity,” said a CIP spokesperson. “The silicon-based panels contain no cadmium-telluride (CdTe) and we have identified no risk to the local community or the environment.”

The lifespan of a solar power station is generally more than 25 years, and it is inevitable to encounter various extreme environments. How to ensure the continuous and stable power generation of solar modules should be everyone's biggest concern.

In fact, many mature solar module companies have already conducted factory tests specifically to deal with various extreme weather conditions. According to the latest module test data from PV magazine test, LONGI, Astronergy, DAS Solar, TWsolar, Aiko, Risen, Trina, and SEG Solar all have good performance in 2023. The specific information is shown in the chart as below:

solar panels

(Source: pv-magazine)

Meanwhile, DAS Solar has previously conducted targeted 35mm hail load tests to assess the impact resistance of N-type modules. The experiment involved large-sized ice balls weighing 20.7g and with a diameter of 35mm, impacting the module surface at a speed of 27.2m/s. After enduring 11 intense impacts from egg-sized ice balls, the module's power degradation was only about 0.07%, significantly lower than the 5% degradation required by IEC test results.

Furthermore, US tracker manufacturer Array Technologies recently introduced a weather tracker claiming to "autonomously protect solar assets from hail damage", capable of retracting photovoltaic panels proactively before hailstorms to prevent damage.

In summary, qualified solar panels need to pass at least seven tests, including electrical performance testing, optical performance testing, mechanical performance testing, durability testing, temperature coefficient testing, reflectance testing, dimension and weight testing.

Solar Panels that pass these tests are considered to have a factory "passport", but to achieve superior performance, they also need to address tests such as temperature coefficient testing, dynamic mechanical load testing, lead testing, humidity resistance, and corrosion resistance testing, among others. The aforementioned hail load test belongs to a type of dynamic mechanical load testing.

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