by John R. Balfour MEP, PhD, PV Cosmologist, President: the Technology Research and Innovation Park (TRIP)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are part of industry communications and metrics.

There is a growing need for agreement and improved communications with greater consistency in accurately ascertaining asset lifetime physical conditions and long-term performance. Yet, agreement on definitions and metrics often lack consistency creating unnecessary problems, challenges, issues and confusion regarding all levels of PV system delivery. This document lays out data needs from perspectives of reliability, availability, and KPIs, intended to be a precursor for standardizing terminology and data reporting, which will improve data sharing, analysis, and ultimately plant performance.

SANDIA REPORT SAND2015-0587 titled: Precursor Report of Data Needs and Recommended Practices for PV Plant Availability, Operations and Maintenance Reporting, is an informative first step, addressing a broad range of issues within the industry. This document identifies certain methods and approaches to collecting photovoltaic (PV) system data:

  1. quantifying the relevant aspects of faults, partial and total failures (events), and maintenance actions associated with a PV power plant;
  2. monitoring approaches to track PV power-plant performance and component conditions that are precursors to failures;
  3. identifying and tracking the key performance indicators (KPIs); and
  4. collecting data for understanding and reporting of PV plant performance.

The effort resulted in what may result in a new IEC PV Standard on System Availability. Further work is to be accomplished and this report is a positive and powerful step in that direction.