Matching Items (55)

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Design and Construction of Controlled Back Reflectors for Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules

Description

Bifacial photovoltaic modules are a relatively new development in the photovoltaic industry which allows for the collection and conversion of light on both sides of photovoltaic modules to usable electricity.

Bifacial photovoltaic modules are a relatively new development in the photovoltaic industry which allows for the collection and conversion of light on both sides of photovoltaic modules to usable electricity. Additional energy yield from bifacial photovoltaic modules, despite a slight increase in cost due to manufacturing processes of the bifacial cells, has the potential to significantly decrease the LCOE of photovoltaic installation. The performance of bifacial modules is dependent on three major factors: incident irradiation on the front side of the module, reflected irradiation on the back side of the module, and the module's bifaciality. Bifaciality is an inherent property of the photovoltaic cells and is determined by the performance of the front and rear side of the module when tested at STC. The reflected light on the back side of the module, however, is determined by several different factors including the incident ground irradiance, shading from the modules and racking system, height of the module installation, and ground albedo. Typical ground surfaces have a low albedo, which means that the magnitude of reflected light is a low percentage of the incident irradiance. Non-uniformity of back-side irradiance can also reduce the power generation due to cell-to-cell mismatch losses. This study investigates the use of controlled back-side reflectors to improve the irradiance on the back side of loosely packed 48-cell bifacial modules and compares this performance to the performance of 48 and 60-cell bifacial modules which rely on the uncontrolled reflection off nearby ground surfaces. Different construction geometries and reflective coating materials were tested to determine optimal construction to improve the reflectivity and uniformity of reflection. Results of this study show a significant improvement of 10-14% total energy production from modules with reflectors when compared to the 48-cell module with an uncontrolled ground reflection.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Interlaboratory Study to Determine Repeatability of the Damp-Heat Test Method for Potential-Induced Degradation and Polarization in Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Modules

Description

To test reproducibility of a technical specification under development for potential-induced degradation (PID) and polarization, three crystalline silicon module types were distributed in five replicas each to five laboratories. Stress

To test reproducibility of a technical specification under development for potential-induced degradation (PID) and polarization, three crystalline silicon module types were distributed in five replicas each to five laboratories. Stress tests were performed in environmental chambers at 60 °C, 85% relative humidity, 96 h, and with module nameplate system voltage applied. Results from the modules tested indicate that the test protocol can discern susceptibility to PID according to the pass/fail criteria with acceptable consistency from lab to lab; however, areas for improvement are indicated to achieve better uniformity in temperature and humidity on the module surfaces. In the analysis of variance of the results, 6% of the variance was attributed to laboratory influence, 34% to module design, and 60% to variability in test results within a given design. Testing with the additional factor of illumination with ultraviolet light slowed or arrested the degradation. Testing at 25 °C with aluminum foil as the module ground was also examined for comparison. The foil, as tested, did not itself achieve consistent contact to ground at all surfaces, but methods to ensure more consistent grounding were found and proposed. The rates of degradation in each test are compared, and details affecting the rates are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

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Short-Term Reliability Evaluation of Glass-Glass Photovoltaic Modules: Influence of EVA and POE Encapsulants

Description

The primary goal of this thesis is to evaluate the influence of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyolefin elastomer (POE) encapsulant types on the glass-glass (GG) photovoltaic (PV) module reliability.

The primary goal of this thesis is to evaluate the influence of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyolefin elastomer (POE) encapsulant types on the glass-glass (GG) photovoltaic (PV) module reliability. The influence of these two encapsulant types on the reliability of GG modules was compared with baseline glass-polymer backsheet (GB) modules for a benchmarking purpose. Three sets of modules, with four modules in each set, were constructed with two substrates types i.e. glass-glass (GG) and glass- polymer backsheet (GB); and 2 encapsulants types i.e. ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyolefin elastomer (POE). Each module set was subjected to the following accelerated tests as specified in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard and Qualification Plus protocol of NREL: Ultraviolet (UV) 250 kWh/m2; Thermal Cycling (TC) 200 cycles; Damp Heat (DH) 1250 hours. To identify the failure modes and reliability issues of the stressed modules, several module-level non-destructive characterizations were carried out and they include colorimetry, UV-Vis-NIR spectral reflectance, ultraviolet fluorescence (UVF) imaging, electroluminescence (EL) imaging, and infrared (IR) imaging. The above-mentioned characterizations were performed on the front side of the modules both before the stress tests (i.e. pre-stress) and after the stress tests (i.e. post-stress). The UV-250 extended stress results indicated slight changes in the reflectance on the non-cell area of EVA modules probably due to minor adhesion loss at the cell and module edges. From the DH-1250 extended stress tests, significant changes, in both encapsulant types modules, were observed in reflectance and UVF images indicating early stages of delamination. In the case of the TC-200 stress test, practically no changes were observed in all sets of modules. From the above short-term stress tests, it appears although not conclusive at this stage of the analysis, delamination seems to be the only failure mode that could possibly be affecting the module performance, as observed from UV and DH extended stress tests. All these stress tests need to be continued to identify the wear-out failure modes and their impacts on the performance parameters of PV modules.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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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).

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Indoor soiling method and outdoor statistical risk analysis of photovoltaic power plants

Description

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 presents an approach for working towards the development of a standardized artificial soiling method for laminated photovoltaic (PV) cells or mini-modules. Construction of an

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 presents an approach for working towards the development of a standardized artificial soiling method for laminated photovoltaic (PV) cells or mini-modules. Construction of an artificial chamber to maintain controlled environmental conditions and components/chemicals used in artificial soil formulation is briefly explained. Both poly-Si mini-modules and a single cell mono-Si coupons were soiled and characterization tests such as I-V, reflectance and quantum efficiency (QE) were carried out on both soiled, and cleaned coupons. From the results obtained, poly-Si mini-modules proved to be a good measure of soil uniformity, as any non-uniformity present would not result in a smooth curve during I-V measurements. The challenges faced while executing reflectance and QE characterization tests on poly-Si due to smaller size cells was eliminated on the mono-Si coupons with large cells to obtain highly repeatable measurements. This study indicates that the reflectance measurements between 600-700 nm wavelengths can be used as a direct measure of soil density on the modules.

Part 2 determines the most dominant failure modes of field aged PV modules using experimental data obtained in the field and statistical analysis, FMECA (Failure Mode, Effect, and Criticality Analysis). The failure and degradation modes of about 744 poly-Si glass/polymer frameless modules fielded for 18 years under the cold-dry climate of New York was evaluated. Defect chart, degradation rates (both string and module levels) and safety map were generated using the field measured data. A statistical reliability tool, FMECA that uses Risk Priority Number (RPN) is used to determine the dominant failure or degradation modes in the strings and modules by means of ranking and prioritizing the modes. This study on PV power plants considers all the failure and degradation modes from both safety and performance perspectives.

The indoor and outdoor soiling studies were jointly performed by two Masters Students, Sravanthi Boppana and Vidyashree Rajasekar. This thesis presents the indoor soiling study, whereas the other thesis presents the outdoor soiling study. Similarly, the statistical risk analyses of two power plants (model J and model JVA) were jointly performed by these two Masters students. Both power plants are located at the same cold-dry climate, but one power plant carries framed modules and the other carries frameless modules. This thesis presents the results obtained on the frameless modules.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Cell and substrate temperatures of glass/glass and glass/polymer PV modules

Description

Performance of photovoltaic (PV) modules decrease as the operating temperatures increase. In hot climatic conditions, the operating temperature can reach as high as 85°C for the rooftop modules. Considering a

Performance of photovoltaic (PV) modules decrease as the operating temperatures increase. In hot climatic conditions, the operating temperature can reach as high as 85°C for the rooftop modules. Considering a typical power drop of 0.5%/°C for crystalline silicon modules, a performance decrease of approximately 30% could be expected during peak summer seasons due to the difference between module rated temperature of 25°C and operating temperature of 85°C. Therefore, it is critical to accurately predict the temperature of the modules so the performance can be accurately predicted. The module operating temperature is based not only on the ambient and irradiance conditions but is also based on the thermal properties of module packaging materials. One of the key packaging materials that would influence the module operating temperature is the substrate, polymer backsheet or glass. In this study, the thermal influence of three different polymer backsheet substrates and one glass substrate has been investigated through five tasks:

1. Determination and modeling of substrate or module temperature of coupons using four different substrates (three backsheet materials and one glass material).

2. Determination and modeling of cell temperature of coupons using four different substrates (three backsheet materials and one glass material)

3. Determination of temperature difference between cell and individual substrates for coupons of all four substrates

4. Determination of NOCT (nominal operating cell temperature) of coupons using all four substrate materials

5. Comparison of operating temperature difference between backsheet substrate coupons.

All these five tasks have been executed using the specially constructed one-cell coupons with identical cells but with four different substrates. For redundancy, two coupons per substrate were constructed and investigated. This study has attempted to model the effect of thermal conductivity of backsheet material on the cell and backsheet temperatures.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Accelerated UV Testing and Characterization of PV Modules with UV-cut and UV-pass EVA Encapsulants

Description

Encapsulant is a key packaging component of photovoltaic (PV) modules, which protects the solar cell from physical, environmental and electrical damages. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is one of the major encapsulant

Encapsulant is a key packaging component of photovoltaic (PV) modules, which protects the solar cell from physical, environmental and electrical damages. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is one of the major encapsulant materials used in the PV industry. This work focuses on indoor accelerated ultraviolet (UV) stress testing and characterization to investigate the EVA discoloration and delamination in PV modules by using various non-destructive characterization techniques, including current-voltage (IV) measurements, UV fluorescence (UVf) and colorimetry measurements. Mini-modules with glass/EVA/cell/EVA/backsheet construction were fabricated in the laboratory with two types of EVA, UV-cut EVA (UVC) and UV-pass EVA (UVP).

The accelerated UV testing was performed in a UV chamber equipped with UV lights at an ambient temperature of 50°C, little or no humidity and total UV dosage of 400 kWh/m2. The mini-modules were maintained at three different temperatures through UV light heating by placing different thickness of thermal insulation sheets over the backsheet. Also, prior to thermal insulation sheet placement, the backsheet and laminate edges were fully covered with aluminum tape to prevent oxygen diffusion into the module and hence the photobleaching reaction.

The characterization results showed that mini-modules with UV-cut EVA suffered from discoloration while the modules with UV-pass EVA suffered from delamination. UVf imaging technique has the capability to identify the discoloration region in the UVC modules in the very early stage when the discoloration is not visible to the naked eyes, whereas Isc measurement is unable to measure the performance loss until the color becomes visibly darker. YI also provides the direct evidence of yellowing in the encapsulant. As expected, the extent of degradation due to discoloration increases with the increase in module temperature. The Isc loss is dictated by both the regions – discolored area at the center and non-discolored area at the cell edges, whereas the YI is only determined at the discolored region due to low probe area. This led to the limited correlation between Isc and YI in UVC modules.

In case of UVP modules, UV radiation has caused an adverse impact on the interfacial adhesion between the EVA and solar cell, which was detected from UVf images and severe Isc loss. No change in YI confirms that the reason for Isc loss is not due to yellowing but the delamination.

Further, the activation energy of encapsulant discoloration was estimated by using Arrhenius model on two types of data, %Isc drop and ΔYI. The Ea determined from the change in YI data for the EVA encapsulant discoloration reaction without the influence of oxygen and humidity is 0.61 eV. Based on the activation energy determined in this work and hourly weather data of any site, the degradation rate for the encaspulant browning mode can be estimated.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Series resistance increase in field degraded PV modules in different climatic conditions

Description

Global photovoltaic (PV) module installation in 2018 is estimated to exceed 100 GW, and crystalline Si (c-Si) solar cell-based modules have a share more than 90% of the global PV

Global photovoltaic (PV) module installation in 2018 is estimated to exceed 100 GW, and crystalline Si (c-Si) solar cell-based modules have a share more than 90% of the global PV market. To reduce the social cost of PV electricity, further developments in reliability of solar panels are expected. These will lead to realize longer module lifetime and reduced levelized cost of energy. As many as 86 failure modes are observed in PV modules [1] and series resistance increase is one of the major durability issues of all. Series resistance constitutes emitter sheet resistance, metal-semiconductor contact resistance, and resistance across the metal-solder ribbon. Solder bond degradation at the cell interconnect is one of the primary causes for increase in series resistance, which is also considered to be an invisible defect [1]. Combination of intermetallic compounds (IMC) formation during soldering and their growth due to solid state diffusion over its lifetime result in formation of weak interfaces between the solar cell and the interconnect. Thermal cycling under regular operating conditions induce thermo-mechanical fatigue over these weak interfaces resulting in contact reduction or loss. Contact reduction or loss leads to increase in series resistance which further manifests into power and fill factor loss. The degree of intermixing of metallic interfaces and contact loss depends on climatic conditions as temperature and humidity (moisture ingression into the PV module laminate) play a vital role in reaction kinetics of these layers. Modules from Arizona and Florida served as a good sample set to analyze the effects of hot and humid climatic conditions respectively. The results obtained in the current thesis quantifies the thickness of IMC formation from SEM-EDS profiles, where similar modules obtained from different climatic conditions were compared. The results indicate the thickness of the IMC and detachment degree to be growing with age and operating temperatures of the module. This can be seen in CuxSny IMC which is thicker in the case of Arizona module. The results obtained from FL

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aged modules also show that humidity accelerates the formation of IMC as they showed thicker AgxSny layer and weak interconnect-contact interfaces as compared to Arizona modules. It is also shown that climatic conditions have different effects on rate at which CuxSny and AgxSny intermetallic compounds are formed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018