SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
PV Module Degradation Due to Frequent and Prolonged Inverter Clipping
Manjunath Matam1, Ryan Smith2, Hubert Seigneur1
1University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, United States
/2Pordis LLC, Austin, TX, United States

Photovoltaic (PV) plant owners usually install PV arrays that are larger compared to PV inverters. Under such a high DC to AC ratio, the PV array occasionally operates at a suboptimal point forcibly through the inverter. This is common practice in the USA, and this phenomenon is known as `clipping.' The advantage here is the inverter's full capacity utilization and early financial breakeven time. However, this phenomenon's long-term impact on the PV array's long life, array degradation, aging, hot spots, module warranty, etc., has never been investigated. This paper studies and examines the potential long-term impact of `clipping' on the PV array beyond just energy production. For this study, the module and string level data, mainly characteristic I-V curves and IR imaging, will be investigated apart from analyzing the inverter data. Our preliminary clipping study shows that the PV array exhibits significantly different temperature signatures if operated with low voltage clipping instead of high voltage clipping. In addition, the initial data indicates that the severity of hot spots depends on the clipping conditions.