Designing PV Incentive Programs to Promote System Performance: AReview of Current Practice

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

Some stakeholders continue to voice concerns about the performance of customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) systems, particularly because these systems typically receive financial support through ratepayer- or publicly-funded programs. Although much remains to be understood about the extent and specific causes of poor PV system performance, several studies of the larger programs and markets have shed some light on the issue. An evaluation of the California Energy Commission (CEC)'s Emerging Renewables Program, for example, found that 7% of systems, in a sample of 95, had lower-than-expected power output due to shading or soiling (KEMA 2005). About 3% of a larger sample of ... continued below

Creation Information

Barbose, Galen; Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark November 12, 2006.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Publisher

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

Some stakeholders continue to voice concerns about the performance of customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) systems, particularly because these systems typically receive financial support through ratepayer- or publicly-funded programs. Although much remains to be understood about the extent and specific causes of poor PV system performance, several studies of the larger programs and markets have shed some light on the issue. An evaluation of the California Energy Commission (CEC)'s Emerging Renewables Program, for example, found that 7% of systems, in a sample of 95, had lower-than-expected power output due to shading or soiling (KEMA 2005). About 3% of a larger sample of 140 systems were not operating at all or were operating well below expected output, due to failed equipment, faulty installation workmanship, and/or a lack of basic maintenance. In a recent evaluation of the other statewide PV incentive program in California, the Self-Generation Incentive Program, 9 of 52 projects sampled were found to have annual capacity factors less than 14.5%, although reasons for these low capacity factors generally were not identified (Itron 2005). Studies of PV systems in Germany and Japan, the two largest PV markets worldwide, have also revealed some performance problems associated with issues such as shading, equipment and installation defects, inverter failure, and deviations from module manufacturers' specifications (Otani et al. 2004, Jahn & Nasse 2004). Although owners of PV systems have an inherent incentive to ensure that their systems perform well, many homeowners and building operators may lack the necessary information and expertise to carry out this task effectively. Given this barrier, and the responsibility of PV incentive programs to ensure that public funds are prudently spent, these programs should (and often do) play a critical role in promoting PV system performance. Performance-based incentives (PBIs), which are based on actual energy production rather than the rated capacity of the modules or system, are often suggested as one possible strategy. Somewhat less recognized are the many other program design options also available, each with its particular advantages and disadvantages. To provide a point of reference for assessing the current state of the art, and to inform program design efforts going forward, we examine the approaches to encouraging PV system performance - including, but not limited to, PBIs - used by 32 prominent PV incentive programs in the U.S. (see Table 1).1 We focus specifically on programs that offer an explicit subsidy payment for customer-sited PV installations. PV support programs that offer other forms of financial support or that function primarily as a mechanism for purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) through energy production-based payments are outside the scope of our review.2 The information presented herein is derived primarily from publicly available sources, including program websites and guidebooks, programs evaluations, and conference papers, as well as from a limited number of personal communications with program staff. The remainder of this report is organized as follows. The next section presents a simple conceptual framework for understanding the issues that affect PV system performance and provides an overview of the eight general strategies to encourage performance used among the programs reviewed in this report. The subsequent eight sections discuss in greater detail each of these program design strategies and describe how they have been implemented among the programs surveyed. Based on this review, we then offer a series of recommendations for how PV incentive programs can effectively promote PV system performance.

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

  • Report No.: LBNL--61643
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/918480 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 918480
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882259

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • November 12, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Sept. 29, 2016, 2:25 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Congratulations! It looks like you are the first person to view this item online.

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Barbose, Galen; Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark. Designing PV Incentive Programs to Promote System Performance: AReview of Current Practice, report, November 12, 2006; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882259/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.