Degradation in Field-aged Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Modules and Diagnosis using Electroluminescence Imaging

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Degradation phenomena observed in field-aged crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules include EVA browning, delamination between the glass-encapsulant and the cell-encapsulant interfaces, degradation of the anti-reflective coating, corrosion of busbars and contacts, cracks, humidity ingress, etc. The type and severity of the defects observed vary significantly between cells, modules and installations as affected by a number of both internal and external parameters. This study presents mild to severe degradation effects observed in crystalline silicon PV modules operating outdoors for different periods of time and investigated through non-destructive testing techniques including I-V characterisation, UV fluorescence, IR thermography and Electroluminescence (EL) Imaging. The identification and diagnosis of defects and further correlation to the electrical degradation of the module is achieved through the complementary contribution of these techniques. Severe electrical degradation and mismatch between the cells are identified through IR thermography and EL imaging. Diagnosis of rather uniformly degraded modules is enhanced through EL Imaging by which shunts, higher resistance regions, cracks, broken metallization are identified, while the module may appear to operate reliably. Signs of early degradation are further diagnosed through UV fluorescence and EL Imaging, allowing to monitor the evolution of defects and evaluate module reliability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. 8th International Workshop on Teaching in Photovoltaics (IWTPV'16)
EditorsV. Benda, L. Cerna, T. Finsterle
Place of PublicationPrague
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-80-01-05935-7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • PV degradation
  • Diagnostics
  • IR thermography
  • UV fluorescence
  • Electroluminescence imaging

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