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Electrical, mechanical and optical analysis of Pico PV systems after use in rural areas of Peru

Samuel Jorge Goda Asebey, Bolivia (PPRE 2012/14)
University of Oldenburg


The objective of this study was to analyse parameters of performance of Pico PV systems in a proper scientific way in order to deliver information regarding technical factors.  In addition, a field research was used as a tool to analyse the performance of different Pico PV systems order to observe the current state of the electrical and electronic components after use under real conditions. This was done by visiting households and using survey forms to be filled by end-users living in three different locations of rural areas of Peru. Further, laboratory tests were implemented in order to investigate the current state of Pico PV lamps. Three different types of Pico PV systems were analysed in a case study. The three types of lamps were evaluated under the same conditions and testing protocol. The Pico PV lamps considered for the study had been used for more than 20 months in rural areas. The current state of these Pico PV products under detailed analysis was determined to identify the causes and reasons for their deterioration. Suggestions and recommendations to prevent failures, to prolong the lifetime of these products and information related to their warranty were also described.  The causes of failures of the systems before the nominal warranty time expired were determined bearing in mind that the devices typically had an appropriate performance considering the time of use. From the total sample number, the devices had a 55% failure rate concerning end-user intervention, a 33% failure rate due to technical failure and 12% of the systems did not report failures. The batteries have to be charged and discharged in a proper way in other to get better operational results, e.g. longer lifetime and low capacity degradation. It was determined that in order to reach the minimum 2 years of use, PV panels should be able to operate for at least the same lifetime as the lamp. End-users should charge the lamp, ideally with a daily sun charge of 8 hours per day, keeping in mind that only one function at a time should be made, e.g. lighting or cell phone charging. With the research portion of the study, it was possible to show that for an overall evaluation of Pico PV lamps after use in real conditions, is necessary to implement the technical evaluation of the components of the Pico PV systems but also to consider the influence of end-users behaviour.

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