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Solar & Alternative Energy

Video: Kent Whitfield on reliability and durability of thin-film PV

Evaluating the lifespan of solar installations is a challenge for photovoltaic manufacturers, dependent on developing standards and methods of testing.

2 November 2010, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201011.01

Kent Whitfield is Director of Reliability at MiaSolé, a manufacturer of CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) thin-film semiconductor panels for solar energy.

Thin-film photovoltaics have long been considered a path toward achieving grid parity from a renewable resource because of the relative ease of active material optimization and through the economies associated with a continuous manufacturing process. Low price leadership for some thin-film products is being realized today; however, financing large scale thin-film systems remains a challenge due to reliability/durability issues and concerns regarding the lack of a proven track record.

Whitfield has been involved in all aspects of alternative energy; from testing and certification through manufacture and system design. Previously, he managed the R&D group at UL with a focus on renewable energy technologies and is a US representative to the IEC for PV modules. The interview was recorded in August 2010 at SPIE Optics + Photonics, where he was a plenary speaker.