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Power rating of photovoltaic modules: repeatability of measurements and validation of translation procedures

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Power rating photovoltaic modules at six irradiance and four temperature matrix levels of IEC 61853-1 draft standard is one of the most important requirements to accurately predict energy production of photovoltaic modules at different climatic conditions. Two studies were carried

Power rating photovoltaic modules at six irradiance and four temperature matrix levels of IEC 61853-1 draft standard is one of the most important requirements to accurately predict energy production of photovoltaic modules at different climatic conditions. Two studies were carried out in this investigation: a measurement repeatability study and a translation procedure validation study. The repeatability study was carried out to define a testing methodology that allows generating repeatable power rating results under outdoor conditions. The validation study was carried out to validate the accuracy of the four translation procedures: the first three procedures are from the IEC 60891 standard and the fourth procedure is reported by NREL. These translation procedures are needed to translate the measured data from the actual test conditions to the reporting rating conditions required by the IEC 61853-1 draft standard. All the measurements were carried out outdoors on clear days using a manual, 2-axis tracker, located in Mesa/Tempe, Arizona. Four module technologies were investigated: crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide. The modules were cooled and then allowed to naturally warm up to obtain current-voltage data at different temperatures. Several black mesh screens with a wide range of transmittance were used for varying irradiance levels. From the measurements repeatability study, it was determined that: (i) a certain minimum distance (2 inches) should be maintained between module surface and the screen surface; (ii) the reference cell should be kept outside the screen (calibrated screen) as opposed to inside the screen (uncalibrated screen); and (iii) the air mass should not exceed 2.5. From the translation procedure validation study, it was determined that the accuracy of the translation procedure depends on the irradiance and temperature range of translation. The difference between measured and translatet power at maximum power point (Pmax) is determined to be less than 3% for all the technologies, all the irradiance/ temperature ranges investigated and all the procedures except Procedure 2 of IEC 60891 standard. For the Procedure 2, the difference was found to fall between 3% and 17% depending on the irradiance range used for the translation. The difference of 17% is very large and unacceptable. This work recommends reinvestigating the cause for this large difference for Procedure 2. Finally, a complete power rating matrix for each of the four module technologies has been successfully generated as per IEC 61853-1 draft standard.

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2010

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

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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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Photovoltaic module performance and thermal characterizations: data collection and automation of data processing

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The photovoltaic (PV) modules are primarily characterized for their performance with respect to incident irradiance and operating temperature. This work deals with data collection and automation of data processing for the performance and thermal characterizations of PV modules. This is

The photovoltaic (PV) modules are primarily characterized for their performance with respect to incident irradiance and operating temperature. This work deals with data collection and automation of data processing for the performance and thermal characterizations of PV modules. This is a two-part thesis: The primary part (part-1) deals with the software automation to generate performance matrix as per IEC 61853-1 standard using MPPT (maximum power point tracking) data at the module or system level; the secondary part (part-2) deals with the software automation to predict temperature of rooftop PV modules using the thermal model coefficients generated in the previous studies of the Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory (PRL). Part 1: The IEC 61853-1 standard published in January 2011 specifies the generation of a target performance matrix of photovoltaic (PV) modules at various temperatures and irradiance levels. In a conventional method, this target matrix is generated using all the data points of several measured I-V curves and the translation procedures defined in IEC 60891 standard. In the proposed method, the target matrix is generated using only three commonly field measured parameters: Module temperature, Incident irradiance and MPPT (Maximum Peak Power Tracking) value. These parameters are loaded into the programmed Excel file and with a click of a button, IEC 61853-1 specified Pmppt matrix is displayed on the screen in about thirty seconds. Part 2: In a previous study at PRL, an extensive thermal model to predict operating temperature of rooftop PV modules was developed with a large number of empirical monthly coefficients for ambient temperature, irradiance and wind speed. Considering that there is large number of coefficients for each air gap of rooftop modules, it became necessary to automate the entire data processing to predict the temperature of rooftop PV modules at different air gaps. This part of the work was dedicated to automatically predict the temperature of rooftop modules at different air gaps for any month in a year just using only four input parameters: Month, Irradiance, Ambient temperature and Wind speed.

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2011

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A statistical approach to solar photovoltaic module lifetime prediction

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The main objective of this research is to develop an approach to PV module lifetime prediction. In doing so, the aim is to move from empirical generalizations to a formal predictive science based on data-driven case studies of the crystalline

The main objective of this research is to develop an approach to PV module lifetime prediction. In doing so, the aim is to move from empirical generalizations to a formal predictive science based on data-driven case studies of the crystalline silicon PV systems. The evaluation of PV systems aged 5 to 30 years old that results in systematic predictive capability that is absent today. The warranty period provided by the manufacturers typically range from 20 to 25 years for crystalline silicon modules. The end of lifetime (for example, the time-to-degrade by 20% from rated power) of PV modules is usually calculated using a simple linear extrapolation based on the annual field degradation rate (say, 0.8% drop in power output per year). It has been 26 years since systematic studies on solar PV module lifetime prediction were undertaken as part of the 11-year flat-plate solar array (FSA) project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) funded by DOE. Since then, PV modules have gone through significant changes in construction materials and design; making most of the field data obsolete, though the effect field stressors on the old designs/materials is valuable to be understood. Efforts have been made to adapt some of the techniques developed to the current technologies, but they are too often limited in scope and too reliant on empirical generalizations of previous results. Some systematic approaches have been proposed based on accelerated testing, but no or little experimental studies have followed. Consequently, the industry does not exactly know today how to test modules for a 20 - 30 years lifetime.

This research study focuses on the behavior of crystalline silicon PV module technology in the dry and hot climatic condition of Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona. A three-phase approach was developed: (1) A quantitative failure modes, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA) was developed for prioritizing failure modes or mechanisms in a given environment; (2) A time-series approach was used to model environmental stress variables involved and prioritize their effect on the power output drop; and (3) A procedure for developing a prediction model was proposed for the climatic specific condition based on accelerated degradation testing

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2014

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

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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

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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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Characterizations of soil layers artificially deposited on glass and photovoltaic coupons

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The deposition of airborne dust, especially in desert conditions, is very problematic as it leads to significant loss of power of photovoltaic (PV) modules on a daily basis during the dry period. As such, PV testing laboratories around the world

The deposition of airborne dust, especially in desert conditions, is very problematic as it leads to significant loss of power of photovoltaic (PV) modules on a daily basis during the dry period. As such, PV testing laboratories around the world have been trying to set up soil deposition stations to artificially deposit soil layers and to simulate outdoor soiling conditions in an accelerated manner. This thesis is a part of a twin thesis. The first thesis, authored by Shanmukha Mantha, is associated with the designing of an artificial soiling station. The second thesis (this thesis), authored by Darshan Choudhary, is associated with the characterization of the deposited soil layers. The soil layers deposited on glass coupons and one-cell laminates are characterized and presented in this thesis. This thesis focuses on the characterizations of the soil layers obtained in several soiling cycles using various techniques including current-voltage (I-V), quantum efficiency (QE), compositional analysis and optical profilometry. The I-V characterization was carried out to determine the impact of soil layer on current and other performance parameters of PV devices. The QE characterization was carried out to determine the impact of wavelength dependent influence of soil type and thickness on the QE curves. The soil type was determined using the compositional analysis. The compositional data of the soil is critical to determine the adhesion properties of the soil layers on the surface of PV modules. The optical profilometry was obtained to determine the particle size and distribution. The soil layers deposited using two different deposition techniques were characterized. The two deposition techniques are designated as “dew” technique and “humidity” technique. For the same deposition time, the humidity method was determined to deposit the soil layer at lower rates as compared to the dew method. Two types of deposited soil layers were characterized. The first type layer was deposited using a reference soil called Arizona (AZ) dust. The second type layer was deposited using the soil which was collected from the surface of the modules installed outdoor in Arizona. The density of the layers deposited using the surface collected soil was determined to be lower than AZ dust based layers for the same number of deposition cycles.

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2016

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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

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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