India plans to set up 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. This ambitious target will contribute significantly to India’s commitment at COP-21 to have 40% of its installed electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2030. Most of the 100 GW is expected to be met by photovoltaic (PV) modules using solar cells. A very pertinent question to ask is: how well do the PV modules perform in the field in the harsh climatic conditions of India, and will they last their 25 year warrantied life? To answer this question, a team of researchers from IIT Bombay has surveyed over 60 sites all over India in 2013 and 2014, and performed extensive measurements (including the use of some novel techniques developed specifically for the survey) on over 1000 modules of different technologies and in different climatic conditions. A detailed analysis of the results indicates the challenges of PV module reliability in India, but also provides important pointers as to what needs to be done to make India’s solar energy goals successful.
After spending over three decades working on semiconductor devices and technology aimed at CMOS, Prof. Vasi decided in 2010 to get involved in something more immediately relevant to India -- solar photovoltaics. His recent work has mainly centered in the reliability of solar cells and PV modules. Prof. Vasi obtained his BTech from IIT Bombay and his PhD from The Johns Hopkins University, and has been on the faculty at IIT Bombay since 1981.