You are on page 1of 6

Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)

Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.

Reliability Assessment of a Photovoltaic System

using MATLAB Programming


Professor, Dept.of EEE, Surya Engineering College,Erode

University College of Engineering,BIT Campus,Trichy.


Abstract Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable resources that can be used to produce
electric energy through photovoltaic process. A significant advantage of photovoltaic (PV) systems is the
use of the abundant and free energy from the sun. However, these systems still face major obstacles that
hinder their widespread use due to their high cost and low efficiency when compared with other
renewable technologies. Moreover, the intermittent nature of the output power of PV systems reduces
their reliability in providing continuous power to customers. In addition, the fluctuations in the output
power due to variations in irradiance might lead to undesirable performance of the electric network. The
support of governments, electric utilities, researchers and consumers is the key to overcoming the
aforementioned obstacles and enhancing the maturity of the technology in this field. It is important to
assess the impact of adding photovoltaic (PV) sources to an electric power system in terms of their
reliability contribution to meeting energy demands. The objective of this project work is to estimate the
reliability indices of the PV system by considering rating of photovoltaic panel and latitude data. In this
work the energy oriented indices and time oriented indices of the PV system has been evaluated. Based
on the indices data, the energy availability and time availability has been developed using MATLAB
coding. This reliability indices is used to enhance the performance and economic aspects of the PV
Index Terms PV module,Reliability Indices,Solar radiation,Angstorm Equation,MATLAB
Renewable energy sources particularly photovoltaic are proven to be both clean and economical due to
new advanced technological and efficient cells. Solar energy is obviously environmentally advantageous
relative to any other energy source. The rapid growth of the solar industry over the past several years has
expanded the importance of PV system design and application for more reliable and efficient operation. PV
module represents the fundamental power conversion unit of a PV generator system. The output
characteristics of PV module depends on the solar insolation, the cell temperature and output voltage of PV
module. Since PV module has nonlinear characteristics, it is necessary to model it for the design and
simulation of PV system applications. The main reasons for this huge attention are increase in efficiency of
solar cells, recent technological improvements and environmental friendship.
Typical applications of solar energy are supply the residential loads and far off electrical installations. It
also has a major role in distributed generation network. Right now solar cell efficiency is relatively low
around 12 to 20 %, it means that PV panel can harvest a little amount of sunlight energy (a prototype solar
panel with 33.9% efficiency is announced recently by Siemens and North Carolinas SempriusInc).
Therefore, to preserve this little harvested energy, the whole system such as energy conversion stage has to
be designed carefully and efficiently. It enforces system integrator to design very high efficient DC/DC and
DC/AC converters.
The complex nature of PV power systems makes it challenging to quantify the reliability of the entire
generation station. The existing literature mostly focuses on reliability assessment for power electronic
components such as IGBT [3], capacitor [4], and inverter [5], whereas much fewer references discuss the
reliability evaluation for the entire PV system. References [6] and [7] presented simplified, system-level
models for PV system reliability using the Markov concept. Hierarchical reliability block diagram was
developed in [8] to model the behavior of the PV system. Important contributions to PV reliability modeling
have been presented in [9], where the impact of inverter failures on total lifetime of the PV system is
quantified by using Monte Carlo simulation. In the above literature, failure rates or probabilities of
electronic elements in the PV system are treated as constants. These reliability parameters, however, are
actually varying with system states including solar insolation, ambient temperature [10] and load level etc.
This paper proposes a systematic reliability evaluation method for large- scale commercial and utilitylevel PV power systems. A major contribution of this paper is the quantification of the impact of input
power levels by considering solar radiation.



Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)
Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.
The organization of this paper is as follows. Mathematical modeling of PV module is introduced in
Section II. Section III describes a Empirical model for solar radiation. PV reliability indices are presented in
Section IV. Test results are summarized in Section V, followed by conclusion in Section VI.
A solar cell is the building block of a solar panel. A photovoltaic module is formed by connecting many
solar cells in series and parallel. Considering only a single solar cell; it can be modeled by utilizing a current
source, a diode and two resistors. This model is known as a single diode model of solar cell.

Figure 1: General Model Of PV Cell in a Single Diode Model

1. Ideal solar cell model
An ideal solar cell can be represented by a current source connected in parallel with a rectifying diode,
as shown in the equivalent circuit of Figureure 1. The output of the current source is directly proportional to
the light falling on the cell (photocurrent IPV, cell) .So the process of modeling this solar cell can be
developed based on equation[2].
2. Solar cell characteristics in practice
The I-V characteristic of a solar cell in practice usually differs to some extent from the ideal characteristic
(1). The solar cell (or circuit) may also contain series (Rs) and parallel (or shunt, Rp) resistances, leading to a
characteristic of the form:
VT = k T n / q
Ipv is a light-generated current or photocurrent, Io is the cell saturation of dark current,
q (= 1.6 1019C) is an electron charge,
k (= 1.38 1023J/K) is a Boltzmanns constant,
Tc is the cells working temperature,
is an ideal factor,
Rp is a shunt resistance and Rs is a series resistance.
The photocurrent mainly depends on the solar insolation and cells working temperature, which is
described as,
Actual short circuit current can be calculated by,
On the other hand, the cells saturation current varies with the cell temperature, which is described as,
Nominal diode saturation current can be computed by,
The parallel resistance Rp may be found by making Pmax,m = Pmax,e.
The initial value of parallel resistance Rp may be given by:



Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)
Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.
Then,the power is computed by using I-V equation,
P = [IPV - IO [EXP (V + RSI / VT ) 1] (V + RSI/RP)]* V


Perror = Pmax_m Pmax_e


By using equation 2 to 12,the energy oriented indices are estimated.

The design of a solar energy conversion system requires precise knowledge regarding the availability of
global solar radiation and its components at the location of interest. Since the solar radiation reaching the
earth's surface depends upon climatic conditions of the place, a study of solar radiation under local climatic
conditions is essential. The amount of global solar radiation is one of the primary variables for determining
solar energy production in a region. It is Depending on the latitude, altitude and many meteorological
factors [13].Sunshine based models are the most widely used, which use only bright sunshine hours as input
parameter while others use additional meteorological data together with bright sunshine hours.
The simple model used to estimate daily global solar radiation on horizontal surface is the modified
form of the Angstrom-type equation. The original Angstrom type regression equation related monthly
average daily radiation to clear day radiation at the location in question and average fraction of possible
sunshine hours.
The global radiation at any given location as given by Angstrom model (Angstrom, 1924) and later
modified by Prescott (Prescott, 1940) is as follows.
h is the average length of solar day for a given month calculated/observed.
is the length of the longest day in the month.
1,2 are the average length of solar day for a given month calculated/observed.
is the monthly average of daily global radiation on the horizontal surface at a particular location.
o is the maximum monthly average of daily global radiation per day corresponding to clear sky.
Ho is the Daily extra-terrestrial radiation, mean value for the month, which computed by,
H0 = Isc (1 + 0.33
( S
is the Solar Constant (1353 kW/m2 = 4870.8 kJ/m2 .hr)
Values of

are computed as,


Where, is the day of the year, it is usually calculated in the

The maximum possible sunshine duration Lm is given by,


of each month.

Where ,
is the Sunshine Hour Angle
is the latitude of the location.
is the solar declination angle, which defined as the angle between the line joining centers of the sun and
earth and the equatorial plane.
By using equation 15 to 17,the time oriented indices are estimated.
The purpose of PV reliability analysis is to evaluate PV system performance and to generate reliability
indices that is helpful in selecting the best design option at the planning stage, and is useful in determining
measures to reduce cost and in-crease benefit at the operational stage. To fulfill the goals, two types of



Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)
Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.
reliability indices are introduced: energy-oriented and time-oriented indices.
A. Energy-Oriented Indices
The energy -oriented indices are used to estimate annual PV project yields under uncertain system
1) Ideal Output Energy (IOE): Ideal output power is the power generated from a 100% reliable PV system,
which can be estimated I-V curve. Therefore, the IOE is obtained by,
IOE = time * Pmax_m / 1000000


2) Expected Output Energy (EOE): With nonperfect relia-bility, the expected power output of the PV system
is the ideal output multiplying the system availability. Then EOE is obtained by,
EOE = time * Pmax_e / 1000000
3) Energy Availability

: The

is defined as normalized EOE on the basis of IOE,

Ae =


B. Time-Oriented Indices
The time -oriented indices are introduced to quantify the an-nual outage time and annual available time,
which are useful for justifying maintenance requirements for PV systems.
1) Time Availability
is a relative measure of how many hours the PV power system is expected to
operate in normal conditions every year and can be calculated by,
At = sum (Lm) / 365
At gives the percentage time when the whole PV system stays intact without needing repair or
replacement. Note that the time availability includes the time when the PV system has a zero MW output
due to no solar insolation.
The unavailability is calculated by,
Ut = 1 - At


2) Avaiable (Hav) and Derated (Hdr) Hours :

The fully available hours Hav are calculated by,
Hav = At *8760


The total time in hours of the PV system in derated states is calculated by,
Hdr = (365*24) - Hav


The time-oriented reliability indices help one understand the health condition of the PV system and
perform intelligent asset management.
Different PV panel ratings are used to estimate energy oriented indices.Table (1) shows its electrical
specification at 25 C, 1.5AM, 1000W/m2.
Table 1: Electrical Characterstics of PV Module
Module parameters
Maximum power (Pmax)
Irradiance W/m2
Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)
Current at Pmax (Imp)
Open circuit voltage (Voc)
Short circuit current (Isc)
Diode quality factor

50 W
17.1 V
2.92 A
21.1 V
3.97 A

Module parameters
Maximum power (Pmax)

220 W
250 W



188 W
24 V
7.84 A
29.6 V
8.60 A


Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)
Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.
Irradiance W/m2
Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)
Current at Pmax (Imp)
Open circuit voltage (Voc)
Short circuit current (Isc)
Diode quality factor

29.2 V
7.54 A
36.5 V
8.20 A

29.8 V
8.40 A
38.3 V
8.90 A

Table 2: Energy Oriented Indices

50 W
188 W
220 W
250 W




For different PV panel ratings Energy availability (Ae) is computed and the graph is drawn between
Energy availability and various PV ratings as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Energy Availability

Using the latitude data of various places, the maximum possible sunshine duration Lm are
computed.From this the time oriented indices could be obtained using MATLAB.
Table 3: Input Parameters for Angstrom Equations


Table 4: Time Oriented Indices



Hav (hrs)

Hdr (hrs)

For various latitude data Time availability (At) is computed and the graph is drawn between Time
availability and various places as shown in Figure 3.



Transactions on Engineering and Sciences

ISSN: 2347-1964 (Online) 2347-1875 (Print)
Special Issue on International Conference on Synergistic Evolutions in Engineering (ICSEE) 2015.

Figure 3 : Time Availability

Figure 4 : Energy And Time Availability


The reliability of the photovoltaic system was enhanced by estimating reliability indices. By considering
various PV panel ratings and latitude data, the energy oriented indices and time oriented indices of the PV
system were estimated with the help of MATLAB code. The energy availability and average outage time of
the PV system was developed based on the indices data. It can provide valuable information that is useful to
enhance PV system reliability, to choose better PV system design options and to realize maximum benefit of
PV power.





H.L. Tsai, C.S. Tu, and Y.J. Su, Development of generalized photovoltaic model using
Matlab/Simulink, Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science 2008,
WCECS08, San Francisco, USA.
Peng Zhang, Yang Wang, weidong Xiao, and Wenyuan Li, Reliability Evaluation of Grid Connected
Photovoltaic Power Systems, IEEE Trans. Sustainable Energy,vol. 3,No. 3,pp. 379-389, July 2012.
V.Smet, F. Forest, and J. J. Huselstein, Ageing and failure modes of IGBT modules in high temperature
power cycling, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., accepted for publication.
J.Liu and N. Henze, Reliability consideration of low-power grid-tied inverter for photovoltaic
application, in Proc. 24th Eur. Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, Hamburg, Germany,
Sep. 2009.
G.Petrone, G. Spagnuolo, R. Teodorescu, M. Veerachary, and M. Vitelli, Reliability issues in
photovoltaic power processing systems, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 25692580, Jul.
L. H. Stember, W. R. Huss, and M. S. Bridgman, A methodology for photovoltaic system reliability &
economic analysis, IEEE Trans. Reliability, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 296303, Aug. 1982.
S. V. Dhople, A. Davoudi, P. L. Chapman, and A. D. Domnguez-Garca, Integrating photovoltaic
inverter reliability into energy yield estimation with Markov models, in Proc. 2010 IEEE 12th Workshop
on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL), Boulder, CO, Jun. 2010, pp. 15. S.
E. Collins, M. Dvorack, J. Mahn, M. Mundt, and M. Quintana, Re-liability and availability analysis of a
fielded photovoltaic system, in Proc. 34th IEEE Photovolt. Spec. Conf., 2009, pp. 3162321.
Pregelj, M. Begovic, and A. Rohatgi, Impact of inverter conFigureuration on PV system reliability and
energy production, in Proc. 29th IEEE Photovolt. Spec. Conf., 2002, pp. 13881391.
E. L. Meyer and E. E. van Dyk, Assessing the reliability and degradation of photovoltaic module
performance parameters, IEEE Trans. Reliability, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 8392, Mar. 2004.
CIA-The WorldFact- Gaza Strip. CIA. [Online] 3 November 2009. [Cited: 19 Decemb2009.] 1553-8133.
Ridha Fethi Mechlouch and Ammar Ben Brahim. A Global Solar Radiation Model for the Design of
Solar Energy Systems, Asian Journal of Scientific Research, Gabes, Tunisie, 2008, Vol. 1. 1992.
Zekai S, Angstrom equation parameter estimation by unrestricted method. Solar Energy 2001; 71:95