Improved CdTe PLR Estimates: Self-Shading and Spectral Mismatch

Kevin Anderson, Will Hobbs

Research output: NRELPresentation


The RdTools year-on-year method of estimating performance loss rate (PLR) employs a simple normalization to remove the confounding effect of irradiance and temperature variation. However, the normalization's assumption that PV production scales linearly with in-plane broadband irradiance is a worse approximation for CdTe and other technologies with larger spectral sensitivities than it is for the more common c-Si technology. Additionally, CdTe systems using single-axis trackers (-20% of installed US utility-scale capacity) are subject to self-shading in the morning and afternoon, introducing another nonlinearity between PV output and broadband irradiance. Ignoring these effects may subject the estimated PLR to increased uncertainty, and perhaps bias, depending on the character of their short- and long-term variability. In this work we show that including self-shading and spectral mismatch models in the normalization for tracking CdTe systems can result not only in tighter PLR confidence intervals but different median PLRs as well. The shading and spectral models are kept simple to maintain consistency with the RdTools ethos of not requiring detailed system metadata or unusual measurements.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2022 Photovoltaic Reliability Workshop (PVRW), 21 February 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5K00-82076


  • CdTe
  • degradation
  • performance loss rate
  • rdtools
  • self-shading
  • single-axis tracking
  • spectral mismatch


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