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Multiyear Study of Crack-Induced Degradation in Fielded Photovoltaic Modules

This DuraMAT project aims to study the effect of cracked solar cells on the long-term performance of fielded photovoltaic (PV) modules.

State-of-the-art modules will undergo crack-inducing stress (e.g., simulated hail impacts) before and after comprehensive performance tests performed at the PV Evolution Labs (PVEL). The modules will then be deployed in the field over several years, and their electrical performance will be monitored as the modules experience regular thermal and wind-induced cycling. The evolution of cracks will be monitored quarterly by electroluminescence imaging and other crack-detection forensic techniques, such as ultraviolet fluorescence.

The field performance data and associated imaging data will be made available on the DuraMAT Data Hub and will be used as input for the modeling tools developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with the goal of predicting long-term performance degradation based on early crack electroluminescence imaging.

Core Objective

Fielded Module Forensics




This research can be used to determine the expected power loss under a variety of module cracking scenarios. This information will be useful for assessing the quality of a solar installation upon purchase.


Data is made publicly available on the DuraMAT Data Hub.


X. Chen et al., "Automatic Crack Segmentation and Feature Extraction in Electroluminescence Images of Solar Modules," in IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 334-342, May 2023, doi: 10.1109/JPHOTOV.2023.3249970.

Xin Chen, Todd Karin, Anubhav Jain, Automated defect identification in electroluminescence images of solar modules, Solar Energy, Volume 242,2022, Pages 20-29,

X. Chen, T. Karin, and A. Jain, "Automatic Crack Segmentation in Electroluminescence Images of Solar Modules and Maximum Inactive Area Prediction," 2022 IEEE 49th Photovoltaics Specialists Conference (PVSC), Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2022, pp. 213-213, doi: 10.1109/PVSC48317.2022.9938503.


To learn more about this project, contact Todd Karin.

Task 1: Lab testing before and after crack-inducing stress; Task 2: 2+ years field deployment and monitoring; Task 3: End-of-study lab testing; Task 4: Data dissemination and modeling of degradation.