skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules

Abstract

Each year the world invests tens of billions of dollars or euros in PV systems with the expectation that these systems will last approximately 25 years. Although the disciplines of reliability, quality, and service life prediction have been well established for numerous products, a full understanding of these is currently challenging for PV modules because the desired service lifetimes are decades, preventing direct verification of lifetime predictions. A number of excellent reviews can be found in the literature summarizing the types of failures that are commonly observed for PV modules. This chapter discusses key failure/degradation mechanisms selected to highlight how the kinetics of failure rates can and cannot be confidently predicted. For EVA-encapsulated modules, corrosion is observed to follow delamination, which then allows water droplets to directly contact the metallization. Extended test protocols such as Qualification Plus were created to address the known problems while standards groups update standard tests through the consensus process.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1345561
Report Number(s):
NREL/CH-5J00-63464
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Book
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; corrosion; degradation mechanisms; EVA-encapsulated modules; metallization; PV systems; Qualification Plus; service life prediction; test protocols

Citation Formats

Kurtz, Sarah. Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/9781118927496.ch44.
Kurtz, Sarah. Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules. United States. doi:10.1002/9781118927496.ch44.
Kurtz, Sarah. Sat . "Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules". United States. doi:10.1002/9781118927496.ch44.
@article{osti_1345561,
title = {Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules},
author = {Kurtz, Sarah},
abstractNote = {Each year the world invests tens of billions of dollars or euros in PV systems with the expectation that these systems will last approximately 25 years. Although the disciplines of reliability, quality, and service life prediction have been well established for numerous products, a full understanding of these is currently challenging for PV modules because the desired service lifetimes are decades, preventing direct verification of lifetime predictions. A number of excellent reviews can be found in the literature summarizing the types of failures that are commonly observed for PV modules. This chapter discusses key failure/degradation mechanisms selected to highlight how the kinetics of failure rates can and cannot be confidently predicted. For EVA-encapsulated modules, corrosion is observed to follow delamination, which then allows water droplets to directly contact the metallization. Extended test protocols such as Qualification Plus were created to address the known problems while standards groups update standard tests through the consensus process.},
doi = {10.1002/9781118927496.ch44},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Jan 07 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sat Jan 07 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Book:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this book.

Save / Share:
  • This chapter covers common PV measurement techniques and shows how potential problems and sources of error are minimized through the development and use of common standards. Measurement uncertainty, however, remains a problem for some types of PV cells, and tests continue to be developed to address these issues.
  • Encapsulant materials used in photovoltaic (PV) modules serve multiple purposes; it provides optical coupling of PV cells and protection against environmental stress. Polymers must perform these functions under prolonged periods of high temperature, humidity, and UV radiation. When PV panels were first developed in the 1960s and the 1970s, the dominant encapsulants were based on polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS). Ethylene-co-vinyl acetate (EVA) is currently the dominant encapsulant chosen for PV applications, not because it has the best combination of properties, but because it is an economical option with an established history of acceptable durability. Getting new products onto the market ismore » challenging because there is no room for dramatic improvements, and one must balance the initial cost and performance with the unknowns of long-term service life. Recently, there has been renewed interest in using alternative encapsulant materials with some significant manufacturers switching from EVA to polyolefin elastomer-based (POE) alternatives.« less
  • No abstract prepared.
  • The problem of browning in a number of EVA encapsulated flat plate photovoltaic modules has led to the questioning of EVA as a suitable material for such applications. By isolating the variables that could possibly lead to EVA browning, such as module construction, types of glass superstrates, additives, and processing conditions, the authors have been able to determine those significant specific variables that seem to have the most influence on discoloration.When standard-cure EVA-based laminates were exposed to accelerated UV aging, measurable yellowing of those laminates was evident after only one to two weeks exposure, and visual discoloration was observed aftermore » four to six weeks. Some samples yellowed quickly and some not at all, and there were significant differences in the rates of discoloration between standard-cure and fast-cure EVA. This paper looks at the results of these studies, especially focusing on the effect of additives in the EVA on the rate of yellowing, and discusses how preliminary results can be used to reformulate EVA encapsulants.« less
  • This chapter describes the accumulated knowledge on CPV reliability with its fundamentals and qualification. It explains the reliability of solar cells, modules (including optics) and plants. The chapter discusses the statistical distributions, namely exponential, normal and Weibull. The reliability of solar cells includes: namely the issues in accelerated aging tests in CPV solar cells, types of failure and failures in real time operation. The chapter explores the accelerated life tests, namely qualitative life tests (mainly HALT) and quantitative accelerated life tests (QALT). It examines other well proven and experienced PV cells and/or semiconductor devices, which share similar semiconductor materials, manufacturingmore » techniques or operating conditions, namely, III-V space solar cells and light emitting diodes (LEDs). It addresses each of the identified reliability issues and presents the current state of the art knowledge for their testing and evaluation. Finally, the chapter summarizes the CPV qualification and reliability standards.« less