Oldest solar system in Europe

Oldest solar system in Europe
A 10 kW photovoltaic power plant has been operating in Switzerland since 1982, and a research team has examined its operation and their results have been published in the scientific journal Progress in Photovoltaics.

An accompanying plant called TISO-10 (Ticino Solare) was installed in 1982 on the roof of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Southern Switzerland, where it has been operating for approximately 40 years. The installation cost 284 thousand Swiss francs 39 years ago and represents 140 million forints at today's prices. The panels measure 121.9 × 30.5 x 3.8 cm, weigh 4.9 kg each and contain 35 monocrystalline cells with a diameter of 102 mm.

During the operation of the system, scientists fromcthe Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology subjected the panels to measurements and tests from time to time. 

The last measurement was in 2017, and its results were shared in two studies (first, second). Recent measurements have confirmed that each solar cell shows a different degree of degradation.

Between 1982 and 2017, the modules in the first group degraded by 13% and in the second group by 21%. Most manufacturers offer an 80% performance guarantee for 25 years.

According to Swiss scientists’ measurements, after 35 years, the performance of 60-70% of the panels is still above this level.

The research reveals that the use of the right quality materials allows the panels to remain functional well beyond the warranty period.

Most business plans a 30-year lifespan for solar plants, but for well-functioning and properly maintained solar panels, there is no technical barrier to operating beyond 40 years.


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