The UT will head an internationally financed research project (a so-called COST Action) to study the performance and reliability of e.g. solar energy systems. The goal of this four-year project is to stimulate collaboration within Europe and outside it. At the moment, twenty-four countries have joined the network, while eighty-eight fellow researchers signed up for participation in this Action. The ultimate goal of this COST Action is to improve the energy performance and reliability of solar energy systems in Europe.
Solar energy systems lead to significantly reduced CO2 emission levels during electricity generation. It is therefore important that these systems offer high energy yields in practice and that they perform reliably for circa twenty years. At the moment, the costs of solar panels are rapidly dropping (to 40 cents per watt peak), which means solar energy systems will become even more popular among consumers. In the Netherlands alone, two gigawatts’ worth of PV systems (solar energy systems) have been installed. As part of this COST Action, the UT and its partners will evaluate the long-term performance of these systems, including any breakdowns and malfunctions. Furthermore, the project will study the performance of the components, e.g. solar panels, the systems’ design, the installation process, maintenance activities, geographical location, the effects of weather on the systems’ performance, the performance deterioration over time and the number and causes of breakdowns and malfunctions.
“Despite the rapidly growing market for solar energy systems, with an annual growth rate of 33%, there is not enough insight into the relative performance of these systems. This insight is important in order to realise the long-term goals for the energy market. Think of, for example, consumers’ faith in this technology, securing investments, ecological sustainability and safety and the predictability of the supply,” says UT professor Angele Reinders (president of the COST Action and associate professor at the UT).
What is a COST Action?
A COST Action is a European network that conducts research in a field that is of importance to at least seven COST member states. This is the European Commission's oldest known financing mechanism for international research.