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Angle of incidence and power degradation analysis of photovoltaic modules

Description

Photovoltaic (PV) module nameplates typically provide the module's electrical characteristics at standard test conditions (STC). The STC conditions are: irradiance of 1000 W/m2, cell temperature of 25oC and sunlight spectrum at air mass 1.5. However, modules in the field experience

Photovoltaic (PV) module nameplates typically provide the module's electrical characteristics at standard test conditions (STC). The STC conditions are: irradiance of 1000 W/m2, cell temperature of 25oC and sunlight spectrum at air mass 1.5. However, modules in the field experience a wide range of environmental conditions which affect their electrical characteristics and render the nameplate data insufficient in determining a module's overall, actual field performance. To make sound technical and financial decisions, designers and investors need additional performance data to determine the energy produced by modules operating under various field conditions. The angle of incidence (AOI) of sunlight on PV modules is one of the major parameters which dictate the amount of light reaching the solar cells. The experiment was carried out at the Arizona State University- Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory (ASU-PRL). The data obtained was processed in accordance with the IEC 61853-2 model to obtain relative optical response of the modules (response which does not include the cosine effect). The results were then compared with theoretical models for air-glass interface and also with the empirical model developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The results showed that all modules with glass as the superstrate had identical optical response and were in agreement with both the IEC 61853-2 model and other theoretical and empirical models. The performance degradation of module over years of exposure in the field is dependent upon factors such as environmental conditions, system configuration, etc. Analyzing the degradation of power and other related performance parameters over time will provide vital information regarding possible degradation rates and mechanisms of the modules. An extensive study was conducted by previous ASU-PRL students on approximately 1700 modules which have over 13 years of hot- dry climatic field condition. An analysis of the results obtained in previous ASU-PRL studies show that the major degradation in crystalline silicon modules having glass/polymer construction is encapsulant discoloration (causing short circuit current drop) and solder bond degradation (causing fill factor drop due to series resistance increase). The power degradation for crystalline silicon modules having glass/glass construction was primarily attributed to encapsulant delamination (causing open-circuit voltage drop).

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2013

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Comparison of Pt/MWCNTs nanocatalysts synthesis processes for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Description

Due to the growing concerns on the depletion of petroleum based energy resources and climate change; fuel cell technologies have received much attention in recent years. Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFCs) features high energy conversion efficiency and nearly zero

Due to the growing concerns on the depletion of petroleum based energy resources and climate change; fuel cell technologies have received much attention in recent years. Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFCs) features high energy conversion efficiency and nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions, because of its combination of the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) at anode side and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at cathode side. Synthesis of Pt nanoparticles supported on multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) possess a highly durable electrochemical surface area (ESA) and show good power output on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance. Platinum on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) support were synthesized by two different processes to transfer PtCl62- from aqueous to organic phase. While the first method of Pt/MWCNTs synthesis involved dodecane thiol (DDT) and octadecane thiol (ODT) as anchoring agent, the second method used ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) as the dispersion/anchoring agent. The particle size and distribution of platinum were examined by high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM). The TEM images showed homogenous distribution and uniform particle size of platinum deposited on the surface of MWCNTs. The single cell fuel cell performance of the Pt/MWCNTs synthesized thiols and ALS based electrode containing 0.2 (anode) and 0.4 mg (cathode) Pt.cm-2 were evaluated using Nafion-212 electrolyte with H2 and O2 gases at 80 oC and ambient pressure. The catalyst synthesis with ALS is relatively simple compared to that with thiols and also showed higher performance (power density reaches about 1070 mW.cm-2). The Electrodes with Pt/MWCNTs nanocatalysts synthesized using ALS were characterized by cyclic voltammetry (CV) for durability evaluation using humidified H2 and N2 gases at room temperature (21 oC) along with commercial Pt/C for comparison. The ESA measured by cyclic voltammetry between 0.15 and 1.2 V showed significant less degradation after 1000 cycles for ALS based Pt/MWCNTs.

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2011

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Performance degradation of grid-tied photovoltaic modules in a desert climatic condition

Description

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

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.

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2010

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Soiling of photovoltaic modules [electronic resource]: modelling and validation of location-specific cleaning frequency optimization

Description

To increase the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) systems, a higher level of performance for PV modules should be sought. Soiling, or dust accumulation on the PV modules, is one of the conditions that negatively affect the performance of the PV

To increase the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) systems, a higher level of performance for PV modules should be sought. Soiling, or dust accumulation on the PV modules, is one of the conditions that negatively affect the performance of the PV modules by reducing the light incident onto the surface of the PV module. This thesis presents two studies that focus on investigating the soiling effect on the performance of the PV modules installed in Metro Phoenix area.

The first study was conducted to investigate the optimum cleaning frequency for cleaning PV modules installed in Mesa, AZ. By monitoring the soiling loss of PV modules mounted on a mock rooftop at ASU-PRL, a detailed soiling modeling was obtained. Same setup was also used for other soiling-related investigations like studying the effect of soiling density on angle of incidence (AOI) dependence, the climatological relevance (CR) to soiling, and spatial variation of the soiling loss. During the first dry season (May to June), the daily soiling rate was found as -0.061% for 20o tilted modules. Based on the obtained soiling rate, cleaning PV modules, when the soiling is just due to dust on 20o tilted residential arrays, was found economically not justifiable.

The second study focuses on evaluating the soiling loss in different locations of Metro Phoenix area of Arizona. The main goal behind the second study was to validate the daily soiling rate obtained from the mock rooftop setup in the first part of this thesis. By collaborating with local solar panel cleaning companies, soiling data for six residential systems in 5 different cities in and around Phoenix was collected, processed, and analyzed. The range of daily soiling rate in the Phoenix area was found as -0.057% to -0.085% for 13-28o tilted arrays. The soiling rate found in the first part of the thesis (-0.061%) for 20o tilted array, was validated since it falls within the range obtained from the second part of the thesis.

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2014

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Comparison of four methods to assess silver release from nano impregnated reverse osmosis membranes

Description

With the application of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in the wastewater treatment and seawater desalination, the limitation of flux and fouling problems of RO have gained more attention from researchers. Because of the tunable structure and physicochemical properties of nanomaterials,

With the application of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in the wastewater treatment and seawater desalination, the limitation of flux and fouling problems of RO have gained more attention from researchers. Because of the tunable structure and physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, it is a suitable material that can be used to incorporate with RO to change the membrane performances. Silver is biocidal, which has been used in a variety of consumer products. Recent studies showed that fabricating silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on membrane surfaces can mitigate the biofouling problem on the membrane. Studies have shown that Ag released from the membrane in the form of either Ag ions or AgNP will accelerate the antimicrobial activity of the membrane. However, the silver release from the membrane will lower the silver loading on the membrane, which will eventually shorten the antimicrobial activity lifetime of the membrane. Therefore, the silver leaching amount is a crucial parameter that needs to be determined for every type of Ag composite membrane.

This study is attempting to compare four different silver leaching test methods, to study the silver leaching potential of the silver impregnated membranes, conducting the advantages and disadvantages of the leaching methods. An In-situ reduction Ag loaded RO membrane was examined in this study. A custom waterjet test was established to create a high-velocity water flow to test the silver leaching from the nanocomposite membrane in a relative extreme environment. The batch leaching test was examined as the most common leaching test method for the silver composite membrane. The cross-flow filtration and dead-end test were also examined to compare the silver leaching amounts.

The silver coated membrane used in this experiment has an initial silver loading of 2.0± 0.51 ug/cm2. The mass balance was conducted for all of the leaching tests. For the batch test, water jet test, and dead-end filtration, the mass balances are all within 100±25%, which is acceptable in this experiment because of the variance of the initial silver loading on the membranes. A bad silver mass balance was observed at cross-flow filtration. Both of AgNP and Ag ions leached in the solution was examined in this experiment. The concentration of total silver leaching into solutions from the four leaching tests are all below the Secondary Drinking Water Standard for silver which is 100 ppb. The cross-flow test is the most aggressive leaching method, which has more than 80% of silver leached from the membrane after 50 hours of the test. The water jet (54 ± 6.9% of silver remaining) can cause higher silver leaching than batch test (85 ± 1.2% of silver remaining) in one-hour, and it can also cause both AgNP and Ag ions leaching from the membrane, which is closer to the leaching condition in the cross-flow test.

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2017

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Application of Radiovoltmeters: Quick and Quantitative Power Determination of Individual PV Modules in a String without using I-V Curve Tracers

Description

The goal of any solar photovoltaic (PV) system is to generate maximum energy throughout its lifetime. The parameters that can affect PV module power output include: solar irradiance, temperature, soil accumulation, shading, encapsulant browning, encapsulant delamination, series resistance increase due

The goal of any solar photovoltaic (PV) system is to generate maximum energy throughout its lifetime. The parameters that can affect PV module power output include: solar irradiance, temperature, soil accumulation, shading, encapsulant browning, encapsulant delamination, series resistance increase due to solder bond degradation and corrosion and shunt resistance decrease due to potential induced degradation, etc. Several PV modules together in series makes up a string, and in a power plant there are a number of these strings in parallel which can be referred to as an array. Ideally, PV modules in a string should be identically matched to attain maximum power output from the entire string. Any underperforming module or mismatch among modules within a string can reduce the power output. The goal of this project is to quickly identify and quantitatively determine the underperforming module(s) in an operating string without the use of an I-V curve tracer, irradiance sensor or temperature sensor. This goal was achieved by utilizing Radiovoltmeters (RVM). In this project, it is demonstrated that the voltages at maximum power point (Vmax) of all the individual modules in a string can be simultaneously and quantitatively obtained using RVMs at a single irradiance, single module operating temperature, single spectrum and single angle of incidence. By combining these individual module voltages (Vmax) with the string current (Imax) using a Hall sensor, the power output of individual modules can be obtained, quickly and quantitatively.

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2019

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Elimination of potential-induced degradation for crystalline silicon solar cells

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Potential-Induced Degradation (PID) is an extremely serious photovoltaic (PV) durability issue significantly observed in crystalline silicon PV modules due to its rapid power degradation, particularly when compared to other PV degradation modes. The focus of this dissertation is to understand

Potential-Induced Degradation (PID) is an extremely serious photovoltaic (PV) durability issue significantly observed in crystalline silicon PV modules due to its rapid power degradation, particularly when compared to other PV degradation modes. The focus of this dissertation is to understand PID mechanisms and to develop PID-free cells and modules. PID-affected modules have been claimed to be fully recovered by high temperature and reverse potential treatments. However, the results obtained in this work indicate that the near-full recovery of efficiency can be achieved only at high irradiance conditions, but the full recovery of efficiency at low irradiance levels, of shunt resistance, and of quantum efficiency (QE) at short wavelengths could not be achieved. The QE loss observed at short wavelengths was modeled by changing the front surface recombination velocity. The QE scaling error due to a measurement on a PID shunted cell was addressed by developing a very low input impedance accessory applicable to an existing QE system. The impacts of silicon nitride (SiNx) anti-reflection coating (ARC) refractive index (RI) and emitter sheet resistance on PID are presented. Low RI ARC cells (1.87) were observed to be PID-susceptible whereas high RI ARC cells (2.05) were determined to be PID-resistant using a method employing high dose corona charging followed by time-resolved measurement of surface voltage. It has been demonstrated that the PID could be prevented by deploying an emitter having a low sheet resistance (~ 60 /sq) even if a PID-susceptible ARC is used in a cell. Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) results suggest that a high phosphorous emitter layer hinders sodium transport, which is responsible for the PID. Cells can be screened for PID susceptibility by illuminated lock-in thermography (ILIT) during the cell fabrication process, and the sample structure for this can advantageously be simplified as long as the sample has the SiNx ARC and an aluminum back surface field. Finally, this dissertation presents a prospective method for eliminating or minimizing the PID issue either in the factory during manufacturing or in the field after system installation. The method uses commercially available, thin, and flexible Corning® Willow® Glass sheets or strips on the PV module glass superstrates, disrupting the current leakage path from the cells to the grounded frame.

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2016

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Dependence of toxicity test results on sample removal methods of PV modules

Description

The volume of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules is increasing as the global PV market increases, and the global PV waste streams are expected to reach 250,000 metric tons by the end of 2020. If the recycling processes are not in

The volume of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules is increasing as the global PV market increases, and the global PV waste streams are expected to reach 250,000 metric tons by the end of 2020. If the recycling processes are not in place, there would be 60 million tons of end-of-life PV modules lying in the landfills by 2050, that may not become a not-so-sustainable way of sourcing energy since all PV modules could contain certain amount of toxic substances. Currently in the United States, PV modules are categorized as general waste and can be disposed in landfills. However, potential leaching of toxic chemicals and materials, if any, from broken end-of-life modules may pose health or environmental risks. There is no standard procedure to remove samples from PV modules for chemical toxicity testing in the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) laboratories as per EPA 1311 standard. The main objective of this thesis is to develop an unbiased sampling approach for the TCLP testing of PV modules. The TCLP testing was concentrated only for the laminate part of the modules, as they are already existing recycling technologies for the frame and junction box components of PV modules. Four different sample removal methods have been applied to the laminates of five different module manufacturers: coring approach, cell-cut approach, strip-cut approach, and hybrid approach. These removed samples were sent to two different TCLP laboratories, and TCLP results were tested for repeatability within a lab and reproducibility between the labs. The pros and cons of each sample removal method have been explored and the influence of sample removal methods on the variability of TCLP results has been discussed. To reduce the variability of TCLP results to an acceptable level, additional improvements in the coring approach, the best of the four tested options, are still needed.

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2018

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Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells with Plated Copper Electrodes

Description

An ongoing effort in the photovoltaic (PV) industry is to reduce the major manufacturing cost components of solar cells, the great majority of which are based on crystalline silicon (c-Si). This includes the substitution of screenprinted silver (Ag) cell contacts

An ongoing effort in the photovoltaic (PV) industry is to reduce the major manufacturing cost components of solar cells, the great majority of which are based on crystalline silicon (c-Si). This includes the substitution of screenprinted silver (Ag) cell contacts with alternative copper (Cu)-based contacts, usually applied with plating. Plated Cu contact schemes have been under study for many years with only minor traction in industrial production. One of the more commonly-cited barriers to the adoption of Cu-based contacts for photovoltaics is long-term reliability, as Cu is a significant contaminant in c-Si, forming precipitates that degrade performance via degradation of diode character and reduction of minority carrier lifetime. Cu contamination from contacts might cause degradation during field deployment if Cu is able to ingress into c-Si. Furthermore, Cu contamination is also known to cause a form of light-induced degradation (LID) which further degrades carrier lifetime when cells are exposed to light.

Prior literature on Cu-contact reliability tended to focus on accelerated testing at the cell and wafer level that may not be entirely replicative of real-world environmental stresses in PV modules. This thesis is aimed at advancing the understanding of Cu-contact reliability from the perspective of quasi-commercial modules under more realistic stresses. In this thesis, c-Si solar cells with Cu-plated contacts are fabricated, made into PV modules, and subjected to environmental stress in an attempt to induce hypothesized failure modes and understand any new vulnerabilities that Cu contacts might introduce. In particular, damp heat stress is applied to conventional, p-type c-Si modules and high efficiency, n-type c-Si heterojunction modules. I present evidence of Cu-induced diode degradation that also depends on PV module materials, as well as degradation unrelated to Cu, and in either case suggest engineering solutions to the observed degradation. In a forensic search for degradation mechanisms, I present novel evidence of Cu outdiffusion from contact layers and encapsulant-driven contact corrosion as potential key factors. Finally, outdoor exposures to light uncover peculiarities in Cu-plated samples, but do not point to especially serious vulnerabilities.

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2020

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Substring Current-Voltage Measurement of PV Strings Using a Non-Contact I-V Curve Tracer

Description

In the current photovoltaic (PV) industry, the O&M (operations and maintenance) personnel in the field primarily utilize three approaches to identify the underperforming or defective modules in a string: i) EL (electroluminescence) imaging of all the modules in the string;

In the current photovoltaic (PV) industry, the O&M (operations and maintenance) personnel in the field primarily utilize three approaches to identify the underperforming or defective modules in a string: i) EL (electroluminescence) imaging of all the modules in the string; ii) IR (infrared) thermal imaging of all the modules in the string; and, iii) current-voltage (I-V) curve tracing of all the modules in the string. In the first and second approaches, the EL images are used to detect the modules with broken cells, and the IR images are used to detect the modules with hotspot cells, respectively. These two methods may identify the modules with defective cells only semi-qualitatively, but not accurately and quantitatively. The third method, I-V curve tracing, is a quantitative method to identify the underperforming modules in a string, but it is an extremely time consuming, labor-intensive, and highly ambient conditions dependent method. Since the I-V curves of individual modules in a string are obtained by disconnecting them individually at different irradiance levels, module operating temperatures, angle of incidences (AOI) and air-masses/spectra, all these measured curves are required to be translated to a single reporting condition (SRC) of a single irradiance, single temperature, single AOI and single spectrum. These translations are not only time consuming but are also prone to inaccuracy due to inherent issues in the translation models. Therefore, the current challenges in using the traditional I-V tracers are related to: i) obtaining I-V curves simultaneously of all the modules and substrings in a string at a single irradiance, operating temperature, irradiance spectrum and angle of incidence due to changing weather parameters and sun positions during the measurements, ii) safety of field personnel when disconnecting and reconnecting of cables in high voltage systems (especially field aged connectors), and iii) enormous time and hardship for the test personnel in harsh outdoor climatic conditions. In this thesis work, a non-contact I-V (NCIV) curve tracing tool has been integrated and implemented to address the above mentioned three challenges of the traditional I-V tracers.

This work compares I-V curves obtained using a traditional I-V curve tracer with the I-V curves obtained using a NCIV curve tracer for the string, substring and individual modules of crystalline silicon (c-Si) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) technologies. The NCIV curve tracer equipment used in this study was integrated using three commercially available components: non-contact voltmeters (NCV) with voltage probes to measure the voltages of substrings/modules in a string, a hall sensor to measure the string current and a DAS (data acquisition system) for simultaneous collection of the voltage data obtained from the NCVs and the current data obtained from the hall sensor. This study demonstrates the concept and accuracy of the NCIV curve tracer by comparing the I-V curves obtained using a traditional capacitor-based tracer and the NCIV curve tracer in a three-module string of c-Si modules and of CdTe modules under natural sunlight with uniform light conditions on all the modules in the string and with partially shading one or more of the modules in the string to simulate and quantitatively detect the underperforming module(s) in a string.

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2020