I-V curve tracing offers a quick and reliable method for assessing the true performance of Solar PV modules and traditional string inverter systems. The technique is especially utilized by Solar PV installers for real-time module monitoring and performance evaluation.
How does it work?
I-V Curve Tracing is a method of electrically testing the PV module and photovoltaic array and ensuring that it performs at optimum level. This test can be conducted at any time during the manufacture, installation, commissioning, performance and troubleshooting phase to ensure productivity. A device, called the I-V Curve Tracer can be installed for this purpose, which measures current and power as a function of voltage. This test can be applied on individual strings and the captured results can be compared to expected results for any variation.
I-V Curve tracing helps in determining the optimum combination of current and voltage to maximize yield as illustrated in the figure below. The red line depicts maximum output achieved through the best combination of current and voltage whereas the dotted line shows reduced output which may be a result of several factors such as a module mismatch, soiling, and more.
What are the Benefits Of I-V CURVE TRACING?
Some key benefits of I-V Curve Tracing include:
Lower risks during startup and commissioning
Thorough system performance baselines
Effective and expedited troubleshooting
Better performance modeling
Detailed testing reports and analytics
Reduced system downtime
I-V Curve Tracing can also help in detecting module faults such as shading, soiling, series resistance and module mismatch. Immediate identification of these issues can allow technicians to make timely array layout adjustments, repairs and warranty claims.
I-V Curve Tracing is currently one of the most comprehensive methods of testing PV modules and strings to regulate and optimize the performance of each array in the PV system.