Reducing Uncertainty of Fielded Photovoltaic Performance - Final Technical Report

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Improved analysis and reporting of photovoltaic (PV) field performance increases the certainty of owners and financiers that systems will perform as expected. Advanced module technologies (e.g., PERC, HJT, and bifacial) introduce new degradation mechanisms and performance characteristics. The FY19-21 Reducing Uncertainty project leveraged data from the ever-increasing PV fleet to develop models and understanding of the field performance of existing and new technologies. Specifically, we accomplished: report on field performance and degradation rates for high-efficiency silicon (HJT, PERC, IBC) and more conventional technologies; developed automated analysis techniques to quantify system performance (performance ratio, energy yield) and production shortfalls (soiling, degradation, availability); refined the RdTools software toolkit to bring standard, validated analysis techniques to bear on third-party data; analyzed and reported on large datasets including Treasury data and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Utility-Scale dataset to expand the high-quality degradation-rate histogram published previously; worked with industry partners and the DuraMAT data hub to enable private parties to share and aggregate PV production data anonymously, leveraging cloud-based data analysis infrastructure and publishing on US fleet-scale performance comprising over 7GW of operating systems. ( Through our industry collaborations we have engaged in NDA-covered data transfer with twelve PV fleet owners as of January 2022, with more agreements in negotiation. Our scalable cloud-based time series database contains over 30 billion rows (20TB) of PV time series data, representing over 1700 commercial and utility-scale systems, and over 7.2 GW of DC capacity (Fig 1). Initial field performance results have been distributed in several public reports. Because our fleet composition and data quality methods are continually improving, annual updates to these results are published to our PV Fleet webpage [ ] and DuraMAT data hub [DOI: 10.21948/1842958]. Another existing dissemination channel used for observed soiling losses is a map we maintain for soiling losses. Additional products developed include a report detailing fleet-wide performance index, availability, startup loss and snow loss factors, a detailed report on the 1603 grant dataset comprising over 100,000 PV systems with failure and performance details and a utility-scale report coauthored with LBNL on 31 GW of system performance.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5K00-82816


  • field performance
  • performance loss rates
  • solar


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