Worldmap of PV Camper locations

A collaborative international effort will bring data together to help accelerate the world’s most efficient PV locations.

© Sandia

The performance of an individual photovoltaic unit depends very much upon its location. As well as the intensity and duration of solar radiation, many other environmental factors influence performance, fault events and overall service life. Now for the first time, data from PV field sites in five different climactic zones will be shared between a consortium of international institutes in a project entitled PV CAMPER (which stands for "Photovoltaic Collaborative to Advance Multi-Climate Performance and Energy Research”).

"We are very excited to be part of the PV CAMPER community,” says Professor Ralph Gottschalg, head of the Fraunhofer Centre for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP) and chairman of PV CAMPER, in a press release. “The partnership positions us among renowned institutions around the world and allows us to share knowledge and build capacity in energy research that will accelerate the global transition to a solar-intensive future. This is because the collaboration will make it possible to better transfer research results to different climatic zones and to optimise novel technologies specifically for use there.”

In particular, Fraunhofer CSP will contribute its expertise in the areas of soiling (contamination of solar modules), climate-related PV efficiency factors and quality assurance, while at the same time harnessing the platform's possibilities to develop this expertise further.

The results, which will be collected by institutes based in the US, Brazil, Morocco, Qatar, Singapore, UK and Germany, will be fed into the design of more resilient PV systems for specific operating environments. "We are creating one of the world's largest and most useful databases of quality-assured, comparable photovoltaic performance data and enabling its trustworthy exchange," Gottschalg summarises in the release.