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PV module technology and reliability - status and perspectives

: Wirth, H.; Ferrara, C.


Green 2 (2012), Nr.4, S.159-169
ISSN: 1869-876X
ISSN: 1869-8778
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Photovoltaische Module; Systeme und Zuverlässigkeit; Servicebereiche; Kalibrierlabor photovoltaische Module (CalLab PV Modules)

Solar cell processing into modules is mostly responsible for the product's reliability, has a severe impact on product costs and controls 10-15% of its efficiency. This article gives an overview on current module technology and highlights innovative approaches to reduce material cost and increase module efficiency. High potential approaches like back contact technology are those that simultaneously address cell and module technology to offer efficiency gains in the range of 10%.
Module reliability expectations of 25 years or more require quality assurance beyond the common type approval standards. In its second part, the article addresses stress factors for PV modules. To ensure fast innovation cycles, accelerated aging tests are used to reproduce these stress factors in the laboratory. Results from certification testing are discussed as well as new approaches for improved testing. More realistic test results can be obtained by simulating combinations of stress factors.