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Spatial temperature uniformity and statistical determination of dominant degradation modes in PV modules

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This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 of this thesis investigates the influence of spatial temperature distribution on the accuracy of performance data of photovoltaic (PV) modules in outdoor conditions and provides physical approaches to improve the spatial temperature distribution of

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 of this thesis investigates the influence of spatial temperature distribution on the accuracy of performance data of photovoltaic (PV) modules in outdoor conditions and provides physical approaches to improve the spatial temperature distribution of the test modules so an accurate performance data can be obtained in the field. Conventionally, during outdoor performance testing, a single thermocouple location is used on the backsheet or back glass of a test module. This study clearly indicates that there is a large spatial temperature difference between various thermocouple locations within a module. Two physical approaches or configurations were experimented to improve the spatial temperature uniformity: thermally insulating the inner and outer surface of the frame; backsheet and inner surface of the frame. All the data were compared with un-insulated conventional configuration. This study was performed in an array setup of six modules under two different preconditioning electrical configurations, Voc and MPPT over several clear sunny days. This investigation concludes that the best temperature uniformity and the most accurate I-V data can be obtained only by thermally insulating the inner and outer frame surfaces or by using the average of four thermocouple temperatures, as specified in IEC 61853-2, without any thermal insulation.

Part 2 of this thesis analyzes the field data obtained from old PV power plants using various statistical techniques to identify the most influential degradation modes on fielded PV modules in two different climates: hot-dry (Arizona); cold-dry (New York). Performance data and visual inspection data of 647 modules fielded in five different power plants were analyzed. Statistical tests including hypothesis testing were carried out to identify the I-V parameter(s) that are affected the most. The affected performance parameters (Isc, Voc, FF and Pmax) were then correlated with the defects to determine the most dominant defect affecting power degradation. Analysis indicates that the cell interconnect discoloration (or solder bond deterioration) is the dominant defect in hot-dry climate leading to series resistance increase and power loss, while encapsulant delamination is being the most dominant defect in cold-dry climate leading to cell mismatch and power loss.

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Date Created
2015

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Nano- and micro-scale temperature measurements using laser-induced fluorescence thermometry

Description

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular processes such as intracellular enzyme movement can be studied and their respective temperatures established simultaneously. Polystyrene and silica nanoparticles are synthesized with a variety of temperature-sensitive dyes such as BODIPY, rose Bengal, Rhodamine dyes 6G, 700, and 800, and Nile Blue A and Nile Red. Photographs are taken with a QImaging QM1 Questar EXi Retiga camera while particles are heated from 25 to 70 C and excited at 532 nm with a Coherent DPSS-532 laser. Photographs are converted to intensity images in MATLAB and analyzed for fluorescence intensity, and plots are generated in MATLAB to describe each dye's intensity vs temperature. Regression curves are created to describe change in fluorescence intensity over temperature. Dyes are compared as nanoparticle core material is varied. Large particles are also created to match the camera's optical resolution capabilities, and it is established that intensity values increase proportionally with nanoparticle size. Nile Red yielded the closest-fit model, with R2 values greater than 0.99 for a second-order polynomial fit. By contrast, Rhodamine 6G only yielded an R2 value of 0.88 for a third-order polynomial fit, making it the least reliable dye for temperature measurements using the polynomial model. Of particular interest in this work is Nile Blue A, whose fluorescence-temperature curve yielded a much different shape from the other dyes. It is recommended that future work describe a broader range of dyes and nanoparticle sizes, and use multiple excitation wavelengths to better quantify each dye's quantum efficiency. Further research into the effects of nanoparticle size on fluorescence intensity levels should be considered as the particles used here greatly exceed 2 ìm. In addition, Nile Blue A should be further investigated as to why its fluorescence-temperature curve did not take on a characteristic shape for a temperature-sensitive dye in these experiments.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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Temperature coefficients and thermal uniformity mapping of PV modules and plants

Description

The operating temperature of photovoltaic (PV) modules is affected by external factors such as irradiance, wind speed and ambient temperature as well as internal factors like material properties and design properties. These factors can make a difference in the operating

The operating temperature of photovoltaic (PV) modules is affected by external factors such as irradiance, wind speed and ambient temperature as well as internal factors like material properties and design properties. These factors can make a difference in the operating temperatures between cells within a module and between modules within a plant. This is a three-part thesis.

Part 1 investigates the behavior of temperature distribution of PV cells within a module through outdoor temperature monitoring under various operating conditions (Pmax, Voc and Isc) and examines deviation in the temperature coefficient values pertaining to this temperature variation. ANOVA, a statistical tool, was used to study the influence of various factors on temperature variation. This study also investigated the thermal non-uniformity affecting I-V parameters and performance of four different PV technologies (crystalline silicon, CdTe, CIGS, a-Si). Two new approaches (black-colored frame and aluminum tape on back-sheet) were implemented in addition to the two previously-used approaches (thermally insulating the frame, and frame and back sheet) to study temperature uniformity improvements within c-Si PV modules on a fixed latitude-tilt array. This thesis concludes that frame thermal insulation and black frame help reducing thermal gradients and next best viable option to improve temperature uniformity measurements is by using average of four thermocouples as per IEC 61853-2 standard.

Part 2 analyzes the temperature data for two power plants (fixed-tilt and one-axis) to study the temperature variation across the cells in a module and across the modules in a power plant. The module placed in the center of one-axis power plant had higher temperature, whereas in fixed-tilt power plant, the module in north-west direction had higher temperatures. Higher average operating temperatures were observed in one-axis tracking as compared to the fixed-tilt PV power plant, thereby expected to lowering their lifetime.

Part 3 focuses on determination of a thermal model coefficients, using parameters similar to Uc and Uv thermal loss factors used in PVsyst, for modules of four different PV technologies experiencing hot-desert climate conditions by statistically correlating a year-long monitored data. Thermal models help to effectively quantity factors influencing module temperatures to estimate performance and energy models.

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Created

Date Created
2016

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Effect of series resistance increase on fill factor of PV cells extracted from field aged modules of different climates

Description

Solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is tipped to be one of the front-runners in the renewable industry. Typically, PV module manufacturers provide a linear or step warranty of 80% of original power over 25 years. This power loss during the field

Solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is tipped to be one of the front-runners in the renewable industry. Typically, PV module manufacturers provide a linear or step warranty of 80% of original power over 25 years. This power loss during the field exposure is primarily attributed to the development of performance affecting defects in the PV modules. As many as 86 different defects can occur in a PV module. One of the major defects that can cause significant power loss is the interconnect metallization system (IMS) degradation which is the focus of this thesis. The IMS is composed of cell-interconnect (cell-ribbon interconnect) and string-interconnect (ribbon-ribbon interconnect). The cell interconnect is in turn composed of silver metallization (fingers and busbars) and solder bonds between silver busbar and copper ribbon. Weak solder bonding between copper ribbon and busbar of a cell results in increase of series resistance that in turn affects the fill factor causing a power drop. In this thesis work, the results obtained from various non-destructive and destructive experiments performed on modules exposed in three different climates (Arizona - Hot and Dry, Mexico - Warm and Humid, and California - Temperate) are presented. These experiments include light I-V measurements, dark I-V measurements, infrared imaging, extraction of test samples from the modules, peel strength measurements and four-point resistance measurements. The extraction of test samples was performed using a mechanical method and a chemical method. The merits and demerits of these two methods are presented. A drop of 10.33% in fill factor was observed for a 0.05Ω increase in the series resistance of the modules investigated in this work. Different combinations in a cell that can cause series resistance increase were considered and their effect on fill factor were observed using four-point probe experiments. Peel test experiments were conducted to correlate the effect of series resistance on the ribbon peel strength. Finally, climate specific thermal modelling was performed for 4 different sites over 20 years in order to calculate the accumulated thermal fatigue and also to evaluate its correlation, if any, with the increase of series resistance.

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Agent

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Date Created
2016