Effect of Wind Load on Performance of Photovoltaic (PV) Modules Available in Pakistan
Mechanical integrity of a Photovoltaic (PV) module plays a major role in its performance and electrical output. Mechanical loads which include loads produced by wind, snow, rain, and hail tend to degrade the performance of PV module by generating stresses and enhancing micro-cracks and defects. This research aims to investigate the impact of wind loads on the performance of PV modules, particularly the degradation in its power output. A load of 2400 Pa was applied as per international standards (ASTM E1830-15 and IEC-61215). A total of four PV module samples, of the same specifications with 60 W rated power, were initially subjected to solar flash testing and Electroluminescence (EL) imaging. This was followed by three cycles of mechanical load test. After the mechanical load tests, the modules were again subjected to solar flash testing and EL imaging and the results were compared. It was noted that static wind load degrades the mechanical integrity of photovoltaic modules in two ways; by aiding the propagation of existing cracks and initiating new cracks. This loss of mechanical integrity degraded the power output of PV module. Maximum drop of 2% in the power output and 0.27% in the efficiency was observed. In addition, the average increase of 3.37% in the series resistance was observed indicating decrease in performance.