Training the next generation of PV reliability experts - Project SOLAR-TRAIN with 14 PhD projects
Presentation held at 7th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, WCPEC 2018, Waikoloa, Hawaii, June 10-15, 2018
The quality assurance in the photovoltaic industry is yet in its infancy, requiring both underpinning science and trained personnel to reduce costs of energy. An unmet industrial requirement is an accelerated and operating environment specific, service life time and energy yield assessment. SOLAR-TRAIN qualifies early stage researchers (ESRs) in the field of PV durability as part of a highly innovative, multi-disciplinary project meeting industry requirements. The research objective is to develop novel and validated models for the service life time and energy prediction of PV modules and systems. The elements to this puzzle are researched in the frame of 14 PhD projects with individual areas of focus. Commercial and test samples are produced and tested in the distributed measurement campaign during this project, deployed in different operating environments. They are exposed to state-of-the-art and to-be-developed stress cycles to allow a validated link of degradation to stresses, production methods, materials and methods of deployment. Accelerated and lower cost test cycles for the assessment of innovative materials and module developments will be delivered. The project is integrated both in terms of research as well as training. This inter-sectoral approach provides excellent theoretical and technical background as well as immersion in different business sectors and career mentoring, allowing ESRs to build up a sustainable professional network across Europe. To enable a most effective cross-sectoral training, the project's beneficiaries and partners represent the entire value chain, from materials developers / manufacturers through to operators and insurance companies.