SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Field Experience Detecting PV Underperformance in Real Time Using Existing Instrumentation
Scott Sheppard1, Tim Cook1, Daniel Fregosi2, Christopher Perullo1, Michael Bolen2
1Turbine Logic, Atlanta, GA, United States
/2Electric Power Research Institute, Charlotte, NC, United States

Maintenance at large-scale photovoltaic plants employs a mix of preventative and corrective maintenance practices. Large outages, such as an inverter tripping offline, are often easy to detect. More subtle sub-inverter faults and failures can accumulate and go unnoticed for months or years. A software-based fault detection method has been developed to analyze commonly measured data from large-scale PV plants for more timely detection of subtle underperformance. The method has been demonstrated on eight datasets from large-scale plants with high accuracy of detection. Results are validated using aerial infrared scanning. String outages are detected with a true positive rate of 73 percent and tracker issues are detected with a true positive rate of 88 percent. The developed method can be uniformly applied to photovoltaic plants across a range of scales and configurations to assess performance, quickly detect underperformance, and determine the source and location of failures. The results inform and improve operations and maintenance at PV plants, ultimately aiding in improved affordability, reliability, availability, and resiliency of solar electricity.