This article is written by journalist, Dana Blouin, she is a correspondent journalist for the KhaosodEnglish.com news website. Dana went to a few expos in Thailand to find out about the various issues which unfold in the solar industry, specifically in tropical regions.
To find out even more about the issues which the solar industry faces, Dana spoke to assistant professor Siriroj Sirisukprasert, a power systems expert from the department of Electrical Engineering and Faculty of Engineering at Kasetsart University.
“In a tropical country such as Thailand, raising temperature at photovoltaic, or PV, panels play important role to their efficiency reduction. Temperature coefficient of maximum power is what you need to look for. Generally, PV panels are rated at Standard Test Conditions of 25 degrees,” he said. “The difference between the operating temperature and 25 degrees will tell you how low the maximum power will go. In Thailand, a 30 degree difference can be easily seen. That means a 12 to 15 percent reduction from its maximum power. To handle this concern, appropriated PV ventilation is needed.“
To simplify, most PVs are rated for 25 degrees, but in Thailand those operating temperatures can be significantly higher and that causes the panels to produce less electricity. Siriroj concluded by saying that “appropriate ventilation is needed”.
Ventilation is another one of the major challenges urban solar installations face. It’s much easier to get airflow around a valley full of panels when you can mount them as high away from the ground as needed, on a building, that is not an option in most cases.
“Thailand is already leading the region is solar capacity – and that’s fantastic. I hope to see the trend continue and to see it include urban solar projects that look to add both capacity and stability to grids as well as the economy,” Dana commented.