Assessing PV Module Degradation and the Potential of Using Greenhouse Roofs for Supplemental PV Power Generation in Malta
This chapter presents work carried out on the evaluation of the added photovoltaic (PV) capacity that Malta might need to install to counter-balance the loss of energy production from installed solar PV systems caused by degradation in order to achieve the government’s target of 5 % PV generation by 2020. The potential of using unconventional rooftops is investigated with a focus on greenhouses, which are normally found in rural areas. Such a possibility also has the capability of providing renewable energy to greenhouses, making it greener and self-sufficient. The study started by analysing the actual degradation experienced by a number of PV modules which have been in operation on the island of Malta for between 3 and 33 years. An average degradation of 1.2 % has been found. Visits to greenhouses were also made to categorize their construction materials, area and other technical characteristics to have a better and more hands-on understanding of their ability to take up the added load of PV modules. Two cases were found where new greenhouses were actually in the process of installing PV modules, one in Malta and one in Gozo. The results of this study can help the government to provide incentives for greenhouse owners to invest in PV modules while alleviating the drop in energy production due to the degradation of already installed PV systems to reach the set target.
KeywordsSolar PV module degradation 2020 EU targets Malta Solar greenhouses
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the technical staff of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Mr. Emanuel Aquilina and Mr. Malcolm Farrugia, who have helped in setting the experimental tests. Additionally, our thanks go to Ing. Carl Fenech who has shared some of his test results with us and Mr. Mark Debono who has provided a lot of useful information with regards to his new solar greenhouse project. We would also like to thank all the participants in the greenhouse questionnaire, who have contributed by sharing their views and aspirations and the University of Malta for its support.
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