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Core Objective 4: Disruptive Acceleration Science

As a core objective, DuraMAT focuses on disruptive acceleration science—the understanding of how photovoltaic (PV) materials, modules, and systems will perform outdoors based on relatively aggressive experimental conditions.

Accelerated testing is absolutely essential for any product that needs to perform predictably outdoors for many years, and it is especially important for products like PV that are often deployed in harsh conditions. All PV modules undergo extensive accelerated testing for known failure modes and safety issues in order to meet international industry standards. These tests provide a level playing field for module comparison, but there is always room for improvements that make the testing better, cheaper, and faster.

DuraMAT focuses on acceleration science in order to develop new testing methods that don’t require a priori knowledge of the failure mode and could eventually enable service life predictions. Our approach uses the experimental conditions that mimic the extremes of the natural environment without exceeding them. This application of extreme, but realistic, stress allows us to detect weaknesses without provoking irrelevant failures.

The key results of this core objective include the Combined Accelerated Stress Testing (C-AST) platform, which applies combinations of stresses as they are experienced outdoors, and the experimental validation of C-AST through a comparison of well characterized backsheets. Future plans include feasibility studies of outdoor accelerated testing and low-cost accelerated testing.

Key Results

  • Pioneer new non-destructive/ field compatible methods to evaluate the impact of cell cracks on module performance.
  • Directly image cell stress using X-ray topography to quantify the impact of module loading on cell reliability.
  • Quantify the potential increase in reliability for glass-glass module construction.
  • Validate accelerated test protocols against field failures using a combination of structural, chemical, and mechanical characterization.
  • Use lab analysis and characterization to provide feedback for PV materials and components, including backsheet, cell, encapsulant, glass, gridlines, interconnects, solder bonds, etc. 

Related Projects 


To learn more about this core objective, contact David Miller