Graduation Date

Spring 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Environmental Resources Engineering

First Committee Member Name

Arne Jacobson

First Committee Member Email

First Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Charles Chamberlin

Second Committee Member Email

Second Committee Member Affililation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Resources Engineering


In 1990, 192 ARCO M75 photovoltaic (PV) modules were installed as a part of the Schatz Solar Hydrogen Project at the Humboldt State University (HSU) Telonicher Marine Lab in Trinidad, California, within 150 m of the Pacific Ocean. This 9.2 kW-rated PV array was used to power the marine laboratory air compressor and an electrolyzer. Individual current-voltage (IV) curve tests were performed on each of the PV modules prior to the array’s construction in 1990 and again in 2001, 2010, and, most recently, in 2016, following decommissioning of the array. After 25.5 years of use, 188 of the original 192 modules were operational, significantly outliving their 10-year warranties.

Based on the previous testing results and the 2016 results, the lifetime decline in the maximum power output, at the normal operating cell temperature (NOCT) testing conditions of 1000 W/m2 of solar insolation and 47°C module temperature, of the modules averaged 21.6%, or 8.6 W, with 47% of the modules still producing at least 80% of their original (1990) measured maximum power. The average rate of the power output degradation grew from 0.4%/year in the first decade to 1.4%/year in the second decade, and the average degradation rate over the 25.5 years of exposure came to 0.85%/year.

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