Photovoltaic (PV) modules appear to have three classifications of failure: Infant mortality, normal-life failure, and end-of-life failure. Little is known of the end-of-life failures experienced by PV modules due to their inherent longevity. Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) has been at the crux of this lifespan prediction; however, without naturally failing modules an accurate acceleration factor cannot be determined for use in ALT. By observing modules that have been aged in the field, a comparison can be made with modules undergoing accelerated testing. In this study an investigation on about 1900 aged (10-17 years) grid-tied PV modules installed in the desert climatic condition of Arizona was undertaken. The investigation was comprised of a check sheet that documented any visual defects and their severity, infrared (IR) scanning, and current-voltage (I-V) curve measurements. After data was collected on modules, an analysis was performed to classify the failure modes and to determine the annual performance degradation rates.
- Performance degradation of grid-tied photovoltaic modules in a desert climatic condition