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New study on operation and maintenance costs for PV systems

The institute for sustainable development (INE) and the institute for energy systems and fluid engineering are working together on a new study to better determine the costs for operation and maintenance (O&M) of photovoltaic systems. The study was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE).

Prime costs for electricity from solar cells in Switzerland are currently for newly built photovoltaic systems below 20 Rappen per kilowatt hour. The reason for this is most likely due to the strong diminished investment costs. Therefore, the recurring annual expenses have become a key factor. By now, they can make up to one third of the production costs.

About six years ago a first analysis on the O&M costs has been conducted with support from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. The big changes on the market during the last couple of years however require a new and full reassessment of the prior study. The ZHAW School of Engineering and Basler & Hofmann AG have taken on the task on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

The goal of this study is to better assess the actual O&M costs, to estimate the future development and to formulate a catalogue of effective measures for the reduction of the latter.

Through cooperation with the ZHAW School of Engineering in Winterthur the study achieves a broader impact and the results of the investigation are integrated in the teaching program. Furthermore, it is planned to continue activities on this subjects beyond the duration of this project.