ASTM E2848 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Reporting Photovoltaic Non-Concentrator System Performance

    Active Standard ASTM E2848 | Developed by Subcommittee: E44.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    ASTM E2848

    Significance and Use

    5.1 Because there are a number of choices in this test method that depend on different applications and system configurations, it is the responsibility of the user of this test method to specify the details and protocol of an individual system power measurement prior to the beginning of a measurement.

    5.2 Unlike device-level measurements that report performance at a fixed device temperature of 25°C, such as Test Methods E1036, this test method uses regression to a reference ambient air temperature.

    5.2.1 System power values calculated using this test method are therefore much more indicative of the power a system actually produces compared with reporting performance at a relatively cold device temperature such as 25°C.

    5.2.2 Using ambient temperature reduces the complexity of the data acquisition and analysis by avoiding the issues associated with defining and measuring the device temperature of an entire photovoltaic system.

    5.2.3 The user of this test method must select the time period over which system data are collected, and the averaging interval for the data collection within the constraints of 8.3.

    5.2.4 It is assumed that the system performance does not degrade or change during the data collection time period. This assumption influences the selection of the data collection period because system performance can have seasonal variations.

    5.3 The irradiance shall be measured in the plane of the modules under test. If multiple planes exist (particularly in the case of rolling terrain), then the plane or planes in which irradiance measurement will occur must be reported with the test results. In the case where this test method is to be used for acceptance testing of a photovoltaic system or reporting of photovoltaic system performance for contractual purposes, the plane or planes in which irradiance measurement will occur must be agreed upon by the parties to the test prior to the start of the test.

    Note 1In general, the irradiance measurement should occur in the plane in which the majority of modules are oriented. Placing the measurement device in a plane with a larger tilt than the majority will cause apparent under-performance in the winter and over-performance in the summer.

    5.3.1 The linear regression results will be most reliable when the measured irradiance, ambient temperature, and wind speed data during the data collection period are distributed around the reporting conditions. When this is not the case, the reported power will be an extrapolation to the reporting conditions.

    5.4 Accumulation of dirt (soiling) on the photovoltaic modules can have a significant impact on the system rating. The user of this test may want to eliminate or quantify the level of soiling on the modules prior to conducting the test.

    5.5 Repeated regression calculations on the same system to the same RC and using the same type of irradiance measurement device over successive data collection periods can be used to monitor performance changes as a function of time.

    5.6 Capacity determinations are power measurements and are adequate to demonstrate system completeness. However, a single capacity measurement does not provide sufficient information to project the energy generation potential of the system over time. Factors that may affect energy generation over time include: module power degradation, inverter clipping and overloading, shading, backtracking, extreme orientations, and filtering criteria.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method provides measurement and analysis procedures for determining the capacity of a specific photovoltaic system built in a particular place and in operation under natural sunlight.

    1.2 This test method is used for the following purposes:

    1.2.1 acceptance testing of newly installed photovoltaic systems,

    1.2.2 reporting of dc or ac system performance, and

    1.2.3 monitoring of photovoltaic system performance.

    1.3 This test method should not be used for:

    1.3.1 testing of individual photovoltaic modules for comparison to nameplate power ratings,

    1.3.2 testing of individual photovoltaic modules or systems for comparison to other photovoltaic modules or systems,

    1.3.3 testing of photovoltaic systems for the purpose of comparing the performance of photovoltaic systems located in different places.

    1.4 In this test method, photovoltaic system power is reported with respect to a set of reporting conditions (RC) including: solar irradiance in the plane of the modules, ambient temperature, and wind speed (see Section 6). Measurements under a variety of reporting conditions are allowed to facilitate testing and comparison of results.

    1.5 This test method assumes that the solar cell temperature is directly influenced by ambient temperature and wind speed; if not the regression results may be less meaningful.

    1.6 The capacity measured according to this test method should not be used to make representations about the energy generation capabilities of the system.

    1.7 This test method is not applicable to concentrator photovoltaic systems; as an alternative, Test Method E2527 should be considered for such systems.

    1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D6176 Practice for Measuring Surface Atmospheric Temperature with Electrical Resistance Temperature Sensors

    E772 Terminology of Solar Energy Conversion

    E824 Test Method for Transfer of Calibration From Reference to Field Radiometers

    E927 Specification for Solar Simulation for Photovoltaic Testing

    E948 Test Method for Electrical Performance of Photovoltaic Cells Using Reference Cells Under Simulated Sunlight

    E973 Test Method for Determination of the Spectral Mismatch Parameter Between a Photovoltaic Device and a Photovoltaic Reference Cell

    E1036 Test Methods for Electrical Performance of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Modules and Arrays Using Reference Cells

    E1040 Specification for Physical Characteristics of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells

    E1125 Test Method for Calibration of Primary Non-Concentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells Using a Tabular Spectrum

    E1362 Test Method for Calibration of Non-Concentrator Photovoltaic Secondary Reference Cells

    E2527 Test Method for Electrical Performance of Concentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Modules and Systems Under Natural Sunlight

    G138 Test Method for Calibration of a Spectroradiometer Using a Standard Source of Irradiance

    G167 Test Method for Calibration of a Pyranometer Using a Pyrheliometer

    G173 Tables for Reference Solar Spectral Irradiances: Direct Normal and Hemispherical on 37 Tilted Surface

    G183 Practice for Field Use of Pyranometers, Pyrheliometers and UV Radiometers


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 27.160 (Solar energy engineering)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E2848

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