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Journal of Photonics for Energy

Survey of potential-induced degradation in thin-film modules
Author(s): Peter Hacke; Kent Terwilliger; Stephen H. Glick; Greg Perrin; John H. Wohlgemuth; Sarah R. Kurtz; Keith Showalter; John D. Sherwin; Eric Schneller; Stephen Barkaszi; Ryan M. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Two CdTe and two copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS)-type modules were tested for potential-induced degradation (PID) with positive and negative 1000 V biases applied to the active cell circuit in an 85°C, 85% relative humidity environmental chamber. Various degradation mechanisms could be seen with signatures such as shunting, transparent conductive oxide (TCO) corrosion, charge carrier lifetime reduction, and dead active layer at edges along with resulting cell mismatch. All modules tested exhibited degradation by system voltage stress in chamber, but only one module type has degraded in parallel field tests. IV curve data indicated that one CdTe-type module sequentially exhibited shunting followed by a recovery and then series resistance losses. This module type showed TCO delamination from the glass in the environmental chamber tests and also exhibited power degradation within 5 weeks in field tests. Relative rates of Coulomb transfer from the voltage-biased active cell circuit to ground are compared for the modules in chamber tests to those placed outdoors under system voltage stress to extrapolate the anticipated time to failure in the field. This analysis correctly indicated which module type failed in the field first.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 December 2015
PDF: 14 pages
J. Photon. Energy. 5(1) 053083 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.5.053083
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 5, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Peter Hacke, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Kent Terwilliger, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Stephen H. Glick, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Greg Perrin, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
John H. Wohlgemuth, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Sarah R. Kurtz, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Keith Showalter, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
John D. Sherwin, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
Eric Schneller, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
Stephen Barkaszi, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
Ryan M. Smith, Pordis, LLC (United States)


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