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Physics model acts as an 'EKG' for solar panel health

Companies and governments have regularly invested in solar farms and lost money when weather degradation unexpectedly cut panel lifetime short. As electricity generated from solar energy increasingly matches fossil fuels in price, companies are pressured to keep panels living past their warranty and stretch the billions of dollars paid up front for their construction. Diagnosing degraded solar panels sooner through a tool functioning like an electrocardiogram would contribute to lower electric bills on clean energy as well as cut manufacturing costs. A solar farm's "heartbeat" is data on how well it generates electricity. National Science Foundation-funded researchers created an algorithm using the physics of panel degradation that can analyze solar farm data from anywhere, essentially as a portable EKG for solar farms.

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