23 August 2017 Comparison of efficiency degradation in polycrystalline-Si and CdTe thin-film PV modules via accelerated lifecycle testing
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Abstract
Thin-film solar cells normally have the shortest energy payback time due to their simpler mass-production process compared to polycrystalline-Si photovoltaic (PV) modules, despite the fact that crystalline-Si-based technology typically has a longer total lifetime and a higher initial power conversion efficiency. For both types of modules, significant aging occurs during the first two years of usage with slower long-term aging over the module lifetime. The PV lifetime and the return-on-investment for local PV system installations rely on long-term device performance. Understanding the efficiency degradation behavior under a given set of environmental conditions is, therefore, a primary goal for experimental research and economic analysis. In the present work, in-situ measurements of key electrical characteristics (J, V, Pmax, etc.) in polycrystalline-Si and CdTe thin-film PV modules have been analyzed. The modules were subjected to identical environmental conditions, representative of southern Arizona, in a full-scale, industrial-standard, environmental degradation chamber, equipped with a single-sun irradiance source, temperature, and humidity controls, and operating an accelerated lifecycle test (ALT) sequence. Initial results highlight differences in module performance with environmental conditions, including temperature de-rating effects, for the two technologies. Notably, the thin-film CdTe PV module was shown to be approximately 15% less sensitive to ambient temperature variation. After exposure to a seven-month equivalent compressed night-day weather cycling regimen the efficiency degradation rates of both PV technology types were obtained and will be discussed.
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T. Lai, B. G. Potter, K. Simmons-Potter, "Comparison of efficiency degradation in polycrystalline-Si and CdTe thin-film PV modules via accelerated lifecycle testing", Proc. SPIE 10370, Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems X, 103700J (23 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2274294; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274294
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