Solar PV R&DProject Pilot Project to Trial Solar F2D2
This report presents the findings of the University of Queensland Pilot Project to Trial Solar Farm Fault Detection and Diagnosis (F2D2).
There was a manyfold increase in the number of large-scale solar farm installations in Australia between 2017 to 2019, increasing from 382 MW in 2017 to over 2.8 GW in 2019. The growth is likely to continue during the next decade. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, 20 GW of new large- scale solar generation is currently proposed, part of which is expected to replace 13 GW coal fired generators that are due to retire by 2035. Much of this growth is attributed to solar farms with capacities greater than 50 MW. Each of the existing and upcoming solar farms are spread over hundreds of hectares of land and comprise hundreds of thousands of solar panels. The major challenge in managing these facilities is how to automatically diagnose underperforming panels in order to ensure maximum efficiency of power generation and reliability of assets. Whilst the scale and number of solar farms have grown exponentially, the underlying methods for condition monitoring and diagnostics in solar farms continue to be rudimentary. Economical, effective and efficient tools are urgently needed to meet the monitoring and management of the solar farms that are growing at an unprecedented rate.