DuPont Photovoltaic and Advanced Materials issued its annual Global Field Reliability Study today, with results from a field inspection and analysis program that tracks material degradation and its effects on global solar module performance.
The program is one of the most thorough of its kind, guided by a multi step inspection protocol at sites in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and staffed with some of the most experienced scientists in the solar industry. The team of experts compiled global data from 6.5 million modules, 355 installations and 1.8 GW of total power generation capacity.
Key findings, compared to last year
● The number of site inspections in the report rose from 275 to 355.
● The number of panels surveyed increased from 4.2 million to more than 6.5 million, and the generation capacity 1.04 to 1.8 GW.
● Overall module defect rates rose year over year.
● Total module defects: 34%.
● Total backsheet defects: 14%, for a 47% rise from 2018.
● Cracking comprised 66% of backsheet defects.
“For nearly a decade, DuPont has collaborated with field partners, customers, downstream developers, universities and national labs to perform these field inspections,” said Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Ph.D, global reliability manager for DuPont. “Our mission is simple yet critical: to inspect, assess and understand the state of degradation of fielded photovoltaic modules so we can offer a current and reliable source to help buyers understand the breadth of component degradation issues and module failures that affect their return on investment.”
The 2019 report was assembled from inspection and analysis by DuPont teams using criteria including components, materials, mounting, time in service and climate.
“While our field analysis looks at all component materials, we focus special attention on backsheet durability which plays a critical role in ensuring modules will last long enough to reach the financial objectives of their owners,” added Choudhury.
The report lays out failures with PET, polyamide and PVDF backsheets and issues with glass-on-glass modules the team witnessed.
“This is the second year we’ve reported on glass-glass module failures as our data continues to grow with modules that have been in the field over four years,” noted Choudhury. “We highlight a specific field case in the report that looks at one field with multiple bills of materials and the issues the panels had with delamination and cracking of backsheets, and the associated replacement costs the owner faced.”
The report also highlights trends in module failures and defects, chronicles backsheet defects by panel age and provides comprehensive data on backsheet defect by temperature and climate. The report can be downloaded free of charge.