Field-Aged Glass/Backsheet and Glass/Glass PV Modules: Encapsulant Degradation Comparison

Aesha Parimalbhai Patel, Archana Sinha, Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the predominant encapsulant in crystalline-silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules; however, its degradation is a subject of major concern, which causes significant power loss under field conditions. This article presents a comparison of EVA degradation in field-Aged PV modules with glass/backsheet (G/B) and glass/glass (G/G) architectures. Module-level characterization included UV fluorescence imaging and I-V measurements. Material analytical techniques, including colorimetry, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy, were performed to correlate the module performance parameters with EVA material properties. An intense EVA discoloration in G/G modules was observed, which was corroborated by higher module I-{sc} and Pmax degradation rates compared with its counterpart G/B modules. Higher power degradation was accompanied by a significant increase in EVA crosslinking, vinyl acetate content, yellowness index, and presence of functional groups containing unsaturated moieties that are linked to degradation products of photothermal reaction, and a higher decrease in the degree of crystallinity. The absence of a polymeric backsheet in hermetically sealed G/G modules, which restricts photobleaching and enhances the entrapment of volatile acetic acid and other degradation by-products, plays a major role in causing higher EVA degradation in G/G modules. This article concludes that EVA might have been a good choice of an encapsulant for the G/B modules over the decades, but it may prove to be an inappropriate choice for the G/G modules because of potential degassing, corrosion, and/or discoloration issues. Ionomers or polyester-based encapsulants like polyolefins could be best suited for G/G modules as it appears to be a current trend in the industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8944274
Pages (from-to)607-615
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Characterization
  • crosslinking
  • degree of crystallinity
  • encapsulant degradation
  • ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • field aged
  • glass/backsheet (G/B)
  • glass/glass (G/G)
  • photovoltaic (PV) module

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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