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Effect of Cell Cracks on Module Power Loss and Degradation: Modern Module Architectures

How do solar cell cracks lead to power loss in modern photovoltaic modules? How can accelerated tests drive this process with known relationship to field service? This DuraMAT project’s objective is to understand and answer some of these questions.

Cell cracking is a multistep degradation mechanism that is challenging to model and predict. The reliability consequences of cell cracking range from no impact to the formation of hotspots and dead areas leading to module power loss or safety hazards. This wide range makes the accurate prediction of degradation rates related to cracked cells complex. Within this project, we will employ accelerated testing, field testing, and predictive modeling to further the mechanistic understanding of the underlying degradation process ranging from crack initiation and crack propagation, to wear-out of the metallization and potential module power loss.

Core Objective

Fielded Module Forensics

Location

National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC)

Applications

This study will help understand the impact of cell cracking on module power loss. In addition, this study also aims to establish the correlation between power loss seen in the lab as a result of accelerated testing to the observations/data captured from an identical set of modules deployed in the field. Having established this correlation can be very useful when making predictions about the module performance and setting up the warranty duration.

Availability

Open to all researchers—academic, government, or industry.

References

Millions of Small Pressure Cycles Drive Damage in Cracked Solar Cells; IEEE JOURNAL OF PHOTOVOLTAICS, VOL. 12, NO. 4, JULY 2022, https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9786534

Cracks in solar cell metallization leading to module power loss under mechanical loads, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610214012351

Contact

To learn more about this project, contact Viral Parikh or Robert Flottemesch.