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Proceedings Paper

Environmental aging in polycrystalline-Si photovoltaic modules: comparison of chamber-based accelerated degradation studies with field-test data
Author(s): T. Lai; R. Biggie; A. Brooks; B. G. Potter; K. Simmons-Potter
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Paper Abstract

Lifecycle degradation testing of photovoltaic (PV) modules in accelerated-degradation chambers can enable the prediction both of PV performance lifetimes and of return-on-investment for installations of PV systems. With degradation results strongly dependent on chamber test parameters, the validity of such studies relative to fielded, installed PV systems must be determined. In the present work, accelerated aging of a 250 W polycrystalline silicon module is compared to real-time performance degradation in a similar polycrystalline-silicon, fielded, PV technology that has been operating since October 2013. Investigation of environmental aging effects are performed in a full-scale, industrial-standard environmental chamber equipped with single-sun irradiance capability providing illumination uniformity of 98% over a 2 x 1.6 m area. Time-dependent, photovoltaic performance (J-V) is evaluated over a recurring, compressed night-day cycle providing representative local daily solar insolation for the southwestern United States, followed by dark (night) cycling. This cycle is synchronized with thermal and humidity environmental variations that are designed to mimic, as closely as possible, test-yard conditions specific to a 12 month weather profile for a fielded system in Tucson, AZ. Results confirm the impact of environmental conditions on the module long-term performance. While the effects of temperature de-rating can be clearly seen in the data, removal of these effects enables the clear interpretation of module efficiency degradation with time and environmental exposure. With the temperature-dependent effect removed, the normalized efficiency is computed and compared to performance results from another panel of similar technology that has previously experienced identical climate changes in the test yard. Analysis of relative PV module efficiency degradation for the chamber-tested system shows good comparison to the field-tested system with ~2.5% degradation following an equivalent year of testing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2015
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9563, Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems VIII, 956309 (24 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2188696
Show Author Affiliations
T. Lai, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
R. Biggie, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
A. Brooks, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
B. G. Potter, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
K. Simmons-Potter, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9563:
Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems VIII
Neelkanth G. Dhere; John H. Wohlgemuth; Rebecca Jones-Albertus, Editor(s)

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