lot of solar panels suffer from significant degradation, with electricity yields decreasing in just the first few years after installation.
Potential Induced Degradation (PID) is well-known and feared by solar panel manufacturers the world over. Because of poor grounding, high voltages and inadequate shielding between individual solar cells, leakage occurs, which dramatically reduces the electricity yield of solar panels. In some cases, the loss can be as high as 80% and can already occur in the first two years after roof installation. PID also increases the fire hazard of PV systems.
So how does it work, this PID box? The device is connected to the PV system’s power outlet, right between the panels and the inverter. At night, when the solar cells are inactive, the PID box reverses the direction of the current and rejuvenates the degenerated cells.
According to Ismaël Ben-Al-Lal, Ilumen’s Project Manager, the PID box reinforces the PN junction, or the core of the semiconductor technology in every solar cell, by driving a specific current through the cells. Because this involves high voltage, the panels are temporarily disconnected from the inverter. According to the company, the PID box is the missing link in every existing PV system.
The biggest challenge for the Ilumen engineers was
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“That’s why we equipped our PID box with an algorithm that detects the susceptibility to PID for every individual cell,” he explains. “Based on that information, an optimal current is sent during the regeneration process.”
The PID box might rejuvenate solar panels, but it cannot ultimately prevent the deterioration process. According to Ben-Al-Lal, this wouldn’t be technically feasible because it would require fundamental technical adjustments at the cell level. “Actually, we are competing with a gun against a person with a toothpick,” the Ilumen manager says, explaining that PID still occurs during the day, but is of no interest compared to the nighttime regeneration process. “Because PID has a certain inertia, it won’t get the chance to reduce the overall yield of solar power.”
Independent accredited research lab Eliosys tested the new technology and confirmed the efficiency of the PID-BOX. They confirm a regeneration of infected solar panels of which they initially thought the panels could only be used for the trash bin. Ilumen patented the technology and tested it successfully.
MORE INFO: WWW.PIDBOX.EU