Evaluation of bifacial module technologies with combined-accelerated stress testing

Peter Hacke, Akash Kumar, Kent Terwilliger, Paul Ndione, Sergiu Spataru, Ashwini Pavgi, Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In view of the increasing interest and market share of bifacial cells and modules, suitable substrates such as glass and transparent backsheets along with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyolefin elastomer (POE) encapsulants were examined in combined-accelerated stress testing (C-AST) to evaluate and compare degradation modes. Testing with both monofacial and bifacial cells, we found that glass–glass modules with monofacial cells led to greater grid finger breakage than those with polymeric backsheets. This is attributed to previous X-ray topography and modeling work showing higher stress in cells and interconnections in glass–glass modules than glass backsheet modules. Consistent with the objectives of C-AST, which stresses modules at levels corresponding to the limits seen in the natural environment, we observed the UV-fluorescence signatures of modules tested in C-AST (considering the degradation associated with developing chromophores, moisture penetration, and photobleaching effects) to be like those in fielded modules, more so than other chamber stress testing implemented for comparison. We found light-induced degradation (LID) in module types with regenerated (inactive) cells with C-AST, suggesting the possibility of LID destabilization in some field conditions. We could also distinguish potential-induced degradation (PID) on the back of the bifacial passivated emitter and rear cells (PERC) in C-AST. Confirming with ex situ tests, we found polarization-type PID most prevalent in glass-glass modules with EVA as would be anticipated considering the greater leakage current through such module encapsulation. Unlike PID tests performed in the dark, which can lead to false positive PID test results, field-representative illumination is experienced by the modules on the front and back sides while −1200 V system voltage is applied in C-AST, supporting the conclusion that this module type with glass-glass construction would be susceptible to PID in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • bifacial
  • combined-accelerated stress testing
  • degradation
  • light-induced degradation
  • photovoltaic modules
  • potential-induced degradation
  • reliability
  • silicon solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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