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Title: Degradation of Silicone Encapsulants in CPV Optics: Preprint

High efficiency multijunction solar cells in terrestrial concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules are becoming an increasingly cost effective and viable option in utility scale power generation. As with other utility scale photovoltaics, CPV modules need to guarantee operational lifetimes of at least 25 years. The reliability of optical elements in CPV modules poses a unique materials challenge due to the increased UV irradiance and enhanced temperature cycling associated with concentrated solar flux. The polymeric and thin film materials used in the optical elements are especially susceptible to UV damage, diurnal temperature cycling and active chemical species from the environment. We used fracture mechanics approaches to study the degradation modes including: the adhesion between the encapsulant and the cell or secondary optical element; and the cohesion of the encapsulant itself. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of materials degradation under elevated stress conditions is critical for commercialization of CPV technology and can offer unique insights into degradation modes in similar encapsulants used in other photovoltaic modules.
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Conference: Presented at the 2016 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC), 5-10 June 2016, Portland, Oregon
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NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
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Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE delamination; encapsulation