The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

PV Durability Initiative Tests First Modules

A joint programme from the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE in Boston, U.S., and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, has published the first report from their PV Durability Initiative (PVDI).

In this first round of testing, five of the top ten Si-crystalline module producers were selected to be tested over approximately six months. Among them, for example, were modules from manufacturer SunPower.

Dr Harry Wirth, Director Division Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability at the Fraunhofer ISE, explained to REW that the six-monthly reports could include thin-film technologies, although other technologies differ in their testing requirements or may not yet be mature enough.

According to Fraunhofer, the results so far show a substantial spread in thermal cycling durability, while all of the tested module types proved to have very good stability in the damp heat/UV test sequence.

Modules are subjected to accelerated stress testing and are rated for both performance and safety. The programme partners say that existing IEC and UL protocols address the question of early field failure and safety of solar PV modules, but do not yet yield information about durability or the rate of degradation of power output.

Fraunhofer ISE and Fraunhofer CSE cooperated to develop the programme and tests can be carried out at both locations, Wirth said.

With a robust testing protocol, PVDI generates scores of zero to five that enable what the partners claim is a credible rating of PV modules based on their likelihood to perform reliably under different kinds of stress.

Fraunhofer says that its PVDI testing exceeds the demands of IEC standard module certification with extended accelerated testing, UV irradiation, damp-heat with positive and negative voltage bias as well as dynamic and static mechanical stresses at different temperatures. Also included are typical stresses such as temperature cycling, humidity-freeze, and damp-heat, which have been extended in order to come closer to the actual stress on a module.PVDI testing sequence

In parallel with the accelerated tests, modules are subjected to long-term outdoor exposure while the correlation between the accelerated tests and operation in the field will be determined over time. Where possible, commercial modules are purchased on the open market, to avoid selection bias in the testing process.

Furthermore, Wirth  said: “For us it is more important to adapt the test sequence to newest findings than to have comparability to older module types.”

The research is designed to provide solar PV financiers, developers and other industry players with the first widely available quantitative dataset to assess long-term durability, the authors added. For manufacturers, the data also encourages continuous improvements toward more durable modules.

Geoffrey Kinsey, Director of PV Technologies at Fraunhofer CSE, commented: “The potential for PV modules to fail in advance of their intended service life is a key factor that increases the perceived risk, and therefore the cost, of funding PV installations. PVDI addresses this issue“.

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE invite PV module manufacturers, system developers, and financiers to participate in the PVDI program. Participants have access to more detailed data, since they finance the programme, Wirth explained.

 

Image: Courtesy Fraunhofer ISE

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar panels

New Tool Helps Utilities Manage the Rapidly Growing Community Solar Market

Vince Font, Contributing Editor Community solar projects are among the fastest growing solar segments in the U.S with some estimates forecasting that community solar initiatives will be responsible for the addition of 500 MW (megawatts) of annual capacity...
Pope Francis

A 9-Minute Guide To Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest Pope Francis issued Laudato si’ (Praise Be to You) On the care for our common home, his second encyclical, concerning Catholic doctrine with respect to climate change, consumerism, and development.

Intersolar Europe 2015: Spirits Up, Stats Down

William P. Hirshman, Contributor Intersolar Europe, billed at the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry, is indeed big. But Intersolar Europe 2015, one of five Intersolar-branded gatherings around the globe each year, was not as large as the an...
US Capitol

Republicans and Democrats Back Bill to Level the Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Vince Font, Contributing Editor U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Jerry Moran are leading a bipartisan effort to reintroduce tax code legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for renewable energy investment. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act w...
David Appleyard is a contributing editor. A freelance journalist and photographer, he has some 20 years' experience of writing about the renewable energy sector and is based in Europe.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

NFMT Orlando

NFMT Orlando is a trade show and educational conference for facility pro...

Green Sports Alliance Summit

The annual Green Sports Alliance Summit is the world’s largest and...

Outage Management for Power Plants

Building on this series’ success, the 14th Annual Outage Managemen...

COMPANY BLOGS

Five Ways GreenLancer Creates High Quality Solar Designs

High quality solar designs don’t have to take weeks to get back to...

How To Ace A Presentation

Most sales professionals are asked to give presentations from time to ti...

Harnessing Emotions

Think about how you interact with your prospects. Are you going from the...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS