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Comparison of Encapsulant Degradation between Glass/Backsheet and Glass/Glass Field-aged Photovoltaic Modules

Description

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the most commonly used encapsulant in photovoltaic modules. However, EVA degrades over time and causes performance losses in PV system. Therefore, EVA degradation is a

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the most commonly used encapsulant in photovoltaic modules. However, EVA degrades over time and causes performance losses in PV system. Therefore, EVA degradation is a matter of concern from a durability point of view.

This work compares EVA encapsulant degradation in glass/backsheet and glass/glass field-aged PV modules. EVA was extracted from three field-aged modules (two glass/backsheet and one glass/glass modules) from three different manufacturers from various regions (cell edges, cell centers, and non-cell region) from each module based on their visual and UV Fluorescence images. Characterization techniques such as I-V measurements, Colorimetry, Different Scanning Calorimetry, Thermogravimetric Analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy were performed on EVA samples.

The intensity of EVA discoloration was quantified using colorimetric measurements. Module performance parameters like Isc and Pmax degradation rates were calculated from I-V measurements. Properties such as degree of crystallinity, vinyl acetate content and degree of crosslinking were calculated from DSC, TGA, and Raman measurements, respectively. Polyenes responsible for EVA browning were identified in FTIR spectra.

The results from the characterization techniques confirmed that when EVA undergoes degradation, crosslinking in EVA increases beyond 90% causing a decrease in the degree of crystallinity and an increase in vinyl acetate content of EVA. Presence of polyenes in FTIR spectra of degraded EVA confirmed the occurrence of Norrish II reaction. However, photobleaching occurred in glass/backsheet modules due to the breathable backsheet whereas no photobleaching occurred in glass/glass modules because they were hermetically sealed. Hence, the yellowness index along with the Isc and Pmax degradation rates of EVA in glass/glass module is higher than that in glass/backsheet modules.

The results implied that more acetic acid was produced in the non-cell region due to its double layer of EVA compared to the front EVA from cell region. But, since glass/glass module is hermetically sealed, acetic acid gets entrapped inside the module further accelerating EVA degradation whereas it diffuses out through backsheet in glass/backsheet modules. Hence, it can be said that EVA might be a good encapsulant for glass/backsheet modules, but the same cannot be said for glass/glass modules.

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  • 2018

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Reliability of PV modules: dependence on manufacturing quality and field climatic conditions

Description

This is a two-part thesis assessing the long-term reliability of photovoltaic modules.

Part 1: Manufacturing dependent reliability - Adapting FMECA for quality control in PV module manufacturing

This part is aimed

This is a two-part thesis assessing the long-term reliability of photovoltaic modules.

Part 1: Manufacturing dependent reliability - Adapting FMECA for quality control in PV module manufacturing

This part is aimed at introducing a statistical tool in quality assessments in PV module manufacturing. Developed jointly by ASU-PRL and Clean Energy Associates, this work adapts the Failure Mode Effect and Criticality Analysis (FMECA, IEC 60812) to quantify the impact of failure modes observed at the time of manufacturing. The method was developed through analysis of nearly 9000 modules at the pre-shipment evaluation stage in module manufacturing facilities across south east Asia. Numerous projects were analyzed to generate RPN (Risk Priority Number) scores for projects. In this manner, it was possibly to quantitatively assess the risk being carried the project at the time of shipment of modules. The objective of this work was to develop a benchmarking system that would allow for accurate quantitative estimations of risk mitigation and project bankability.

Part 2: Climate dependent reliability - Activation energy determination for climate specific degradation modes

This work attempts to model the parameter (Isc or Rs) degradation rate of modules as a function of the climatic parameters (i.e. temperature, relative humidity and ultraviolet radiation) at the site. The objective of this work was to look beyond the power degradation rate and model based on the performance parameter directly affected by the degradation mode under investigation (encapsulant browning or IMS degradation of solder bonds). Different physical models were tested and validated through comparing the activation energy obtained for each degradation mode. It was concluded that, for the degradation of the solder bonds within the module, the Pecks equation (function of temperature and relative humidity) modelled with Rs increase was the best fit; the activation energy ranging from 0.4 – 0.7 eV based on the climate type. For encapsulant browning, the Modified Arrhenius equation (function of temperature and UV) seemed to be the best fit presently, yielding an activation energy of 0.3 eV. The work was concluded by suggesting possible modifications to the models based on degradation pathways unaccounted for in the present work.

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Date Created
  • 2017