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Title: Damage in Monolithic Thin-Film Photovoltaic Modules Due to Partial Shade

The typical configuration of monolithic thin-film photovoltaic modules makes it possible for partial shade to place one or more cells in such a module in reverse bias. Reverse bias operation leads to high voltage, current density, and power density conditions, which can act as driving forces for failure. We showed that a brief outdoor shadow event can cause a 7% permanent loss in power. We applied an indoor partial shade durability test that moves beyond the standard hot spot endurance test by using more realistic mask and bias conditions and by carefully quantifying the permanent change in performance due to the stress. With the addition of a pass criterion based on change in maximum power, this procedure will soon be proposed as a part of the module-type qualification test. All six commercial copper indium gallium diselenide and cadmium telluride modules we tested experienced permanent damage due to the indoor partial shade test, ranging from 4% to 14% loss in maximum power. We conclude by summarizing ways to mitigate partial shade stress at the cell, module, and system levels.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2156-3381
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics; Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 5
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; photovoltaics; module; reliability; thin film; CIGS; CdTe; shade