Climate change accelerates degradation of large scale solar panels Australian study finds

  • A new UNSW study shows photovoltaic modules will lose efficiency and cost more to produce in hotter regions in Australia.

Industrial large-scale photovoltaic (PV) modules are being rolled out across the country as solar technology is expected to become one of the largest sources of renewable energy worldwide by 2026. However, shifts in temperatures brought on by climate change means that solar panels are at greater risk of degradation due to prolonged exposure to the harsh outdoor conditions. New modelling from UNSW researchers highlights the need to consider the evolving climate in PV module design.

“Large scale commercial PV modules have a typical lifespan of about 20 to 25 years, although they naturally degrade or lose their efficiency over time,” says Shukla Poddar, lead author of the study and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UNSW School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering.

“However, we know that local weather and climate influence the degradation of PV modules and for the first time, this research aims to statistically model the weighted average degradation rate Australia-wide for the different degradation modes.”

The findings, published in the journal Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, show degradation of future PV modules will result in up to 12 per cent increase in power loss – leading to approximately 10 per cent rise in future energy prices by 2059.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: UNSW

1 Comment

  1. All the more reasons governments world over should carefully take a gradual and strategy pause on investing heavily in solar as the silver bullet to the climate change problem and perhaps focus on other alternative renewables sources of Energy like wind, Bioenergy , Hydrogen etc just to mention a few. My view is that there should me more focus on research in materials that for instance make solar cells if professionals in renewable energy feel solar photovoltaic technology is economically viable compared to other alternatives in renewable Energy. Silicon has lots of limitations and unless and until those limitations are fully addressed the aspect of degradation of solar PV modules is gonna be with us for quite sometime.

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