DuPont Electronics and Imaging’s Photovoltaic Solutions business will work with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE to improve accelerated testing protocols for crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar panels.
Under the terms of their collaborative agreement, Fraunhofer ISE will validate and accelerate DuPont’s sequential testing methods for PV modules, to facilitate the provision of service-life estimation calculations. The tests will focus on common kinds of in-field panel degradation at the backsheet level, in line with the kinds of materials used. Fraunhofer ISE will fine-tune the testing protocols to create a simplified approach to address what the partners referred to as “one of the biggest challenges” in the global solar industry.
“Studying how panels age in the field under multiple environmental stresses is critical for customers and [the] future development of materials,” said Kaushik Roy Choudhury, global reliability manager for DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions.
The planned tests will draw on DuPont’s module accelerated sequential testing protocols, under which PV modules are put through sequences including damp heat, UV and thermal cycling. The partners aim to generate accelerated test conditions aligned with realistic stresses common in the field.
Whole life testing
“The aim of this work is to determine whether the proposed accelerated testing protocols can accurately predict [the] service lifetime of solar panels made with different types of materials,” said Karl-Anders Weiss, project manager for Fraunhofer ISE. “Our intent is to move from the current IEC standards, which are limited to predicting early stage failure mechanisms, to a longer-term view of panel aging in the field.”
Accelerated testing protocols: Discussing the proposed tests and protocols, and the objectives of the work
For the first time since its launch, Karl-Anders Weiss, Head of Service Life Analysis at Fraunhofer ISE, sits down with Michael Fuhs, Editor in Chief, pv magazine group, to outline how accelerated testing protocols are being developed, and the prospect to convert them from quality tests to real lifetime tests. Join them at the Quality Roundtable to be part of the conversation.
In November, DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions signed a strategic collaborative agreement with China’s GCL System Integration Technology, to jointly improve the quality of its PV products. Last year DuPont forged a new partnership with Shanghai-based Envision Energy to develop new degradation analytics for PV modules.
In January, Fraunhofer ISE revealed its researchers had achieved a 22.3% efficiency record for silicon multi-junction solar cells, via advances made in tandem versions. Their results marked the culmination of a project that was in development for more than a decade.