Research Papers

Examination of Photovoltaic Silicon Module Degradation Under High-Voltage Bias and Damp Heat by Electroluminescence

[+] Author and Article Information
Kristijan Brecl

Faculty of Electrical Engineering,
University of Ljubljana,
Tržaška 25,
Ljubljana SI-1000, Slovenia
e-mail: kristijan.brecl@fe.uni-lj.si

Matevž Bokalič

Faculty of Electrical Engineering,
University of Ljubljana,
Tržaška 25,
Ljubljana SI-1000, Slovenia
e-mail: matevz.bokalic@fe.uni-lj.si

Marko Topič

Faculty of Electrical Engineering,
University of Ljubljana,
Tržaška 25,
Ljubljana SI-1000, Slovenia
e-mail: marko.topic@fe.uni-lj.si

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received August 29, 2016; final manuscript received February 2, 2017; published online March 21, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Geoffrey T. Klise.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 139(3), 031011 (Mar 21, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: SOL-16-1389; doi: 10.1115/1.4036056 History: Received August 29, 2016; Revised February 02, 2017

The photovoltaic (PV) modules are in PV arrays normally connected in series and thus some of them are exposed to high system voltages since frames of the PV modules are grounded. To predict the long-term PV system energy output and PV module lifetime, it is very important to understand and take into account the degradation process of PV modules under high-voltage stress. Accelerated tests under damp heat (over 1300 h of DH85/60; RH = 85%, T = 60 °C) of in-house developed monocrystalline silicon PV modules with p-type solar cells were preformed while connected to a positive or negative voltage bias of 1000 V. The negative biased modules exhibited just a little degradation, while the positive biased modules degraded rapidly. We identified three degradation mechanisms: cell degradation, silver corrosion, and EVA evaporation. The degradation mechanisms contribute to almost 15% of the performance loss of the 1000 V positive biased modules after more than 1300 h of DH85/60 testing, while the power degradation of the negative biased modules remains below 3%.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Electroluminescence pictures of the tested modules with 12 cells in series before the test (room temperature and I = ISC_STC)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Leakage current of high-voltage biased PV modules in a climatic chamber under DH85/60 over the time

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Normalized output power output of tested modules

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

I–V characteristics of positive (Module1_DH+) and negative (Module4_DH−) biased module in DH85/60 under conditions close to STC

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Electroluminescence images of positive and negative voltage biased modules before and after 1150 h of the DH85/60 test

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Macrophotos of the positive biased Module2_DH+ after 1150 h: (a) corroded fingers, (b) busbar area on the cell, and (c) zoomed in photo of bubbles on a busbar from (b)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Macrophotos of the positive (left) and negative (right) biased silver laminated in EVA between glass and backsheet after less than 100 h of the DH85/60 test



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