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Sustainability Consulting

  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies
  • Greenhouse Gas Verification
  • Climate Change Vulnerability
    and Adaptation


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Energy Efficiency

  • Energy Audits
  • Energy Modelling
  • Building Systems Analysis and Design
  • Sustainable Design


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Renewable Energy

  • Feasibility Analysis
  • System Modelling
  • System Design
  • Verification and I-V Curve Tracing


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Third Party PV System Commissioning
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A photovoltaic system represents a major investment of capital and energy. If a photovoltaic array has performance problems, it is preferable to identify them during or immediately following system construction, when fixing problems is least costly and long term production losses can be avoided. Employing a third party to commission the system and verify performance through I-V curve tracing and thermographic imaging should always be an integral component of contract close-out. More importantly, the data from these verification tests provide a solid performance baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Photovoltaic system arrays are normally extremely robust and reliable, but they naturally degrade gradually with time. Occasionally a module could even fail. Therefore, third party system commissioning gives the owner a detailed baseline against which to compare measurements over the life cycle of the system. Module defects, degradation and failures are easily demonstrated, facilitating module warranty claims. Taken as a whole, these advantages reduce the costs and risks associated with photovoltaic systems.

I-V Curve Tracing


I-V curve tracing is the most comprehensive test possible for PV arrays. In addition to measuring the traditional parameters such as short circuit current and open circuit voltage, it uniquely measures the maximum power point of each string. The shape of the measured I-V curve gives important information that can be used to troubleshoot any problems with the array. The I-V curve is just a collection or path of possible operating points, represented as a curved line on a graph of output voltage versus current. The curve starts at the short circuit current and ends at the open circuit voltage. The maximum power point is located at the knee of the curve.

IESC utilizes advanced data collection tools to help validate photovoltaic system performance. International photovoltaic guidelines are referenced for procedures to conduct and report system performance. Applicable analytical guidelines referenced in conducting such analysis include IEC International Standard 62446 for grid connected photovoltaic systems.

IESC utilizes advanced data collection tools to help validate photovoltaic system performance. International photovoltaic guidelines are referenced for procedures to conduct and report system performance. Applicable analytical guidelines referenced in conducting such analysis include IEC International Standard 62446 for grid connected photovoltaic systems.


Example of a typical I-V curve trace for properly functioning PV system (Courtesy - Solmetric)

Example of an I-V curve trace demonstrating PV system functionality problems (Courtesy - Solmetric)

Thermographic Imaging


IESC has partnered with Infrared Imaging Solutions Inc. (IRIS), an unbiased predictive maintenance program provider offering a variety services including infrared (IR) thermography.Infrared thermographers use cameras designed to monitor the emissions of infrared energy. These infrared cameras detect electromagnetic energy from an object in the form of heat and convert it into a video signal that produces a color image that can be stored for further detailed analysis. Thermography can be applied to any situation in which an anomaly or condition can display itself by means of a thermal variance. Infrared thermographic imaging is a powerful non-destructive technique that can be used to monitor the thermal signatures of a system’s electrical equipment including PV panels and their individual cells, inverters, combiner boxes, junction boxes, cables etc. without disrupting normal operations.

Thermal anomaly of a PV cell (Courtesy - FLIR)

Regular thermographic inspections can be an extremely effective tool to optimize equipment and system efficiencies and help diagnose existing or potential failures of PV panels and other electrical components saving your system from the expense and inconvenience of significant or catastrophic equipment failure.

For further information please contact:

Livio Nichilo
(416) 628-4658 Ext.140
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