Failure analysis of design qualification testing: 2007 vs. 2005

Published: August 1, 2008

By G. Tamizhmani, Director, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); B.Li, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); T. Arends, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); J. Kuitche, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); B. Raghuraman, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); W. Shisler, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); K. Farnsworth, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); J. Gonzales, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL); A. Voropayev, Arizona State Univerity Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL)

Design and performance qualification testing of PV modules consists of a set of well-defined accelerated stress tests with strict pass/fail criteria. ASU-PTL is an ISO 17025-accredited testing laboratory and has been providing photovoltaic testing services since 1992. This paper presents a failure analysis on the design qualification testing of both crystalline silicon (c-Si) and thin-film technologies for two consecutive periods: 1997-2005 and 2005-2007. In the first period, the industry was growing at a slower rate with traditional manufacturers, with qualification testing of c-Si technologies being primarily conducted per Edition 1 of the IEC 61215 standard. In the second period, the industry was growing at an explosive rate with new manufacturers joining the traditional manufacturers, while qualification testing of c-Si was primarily conducted per Edition 2 of IEC 61215. Similar failure analysis according to IEC 61646 has also been carried out for thin-film technologies. The failure analysis of the test results presented in this paper indicates a large increase in the failure rates for both c-Si and thin-film technologies during the period of 2005-2007.

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