The importance of optical characterization of PV backsheets in improving solar module power

Published: January 7, 2015

By Salvador Ponce-Alcántara, Head of the PV Module Section, Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center, UPV; Alberto A. Vivas Arangú, Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center, UPV; Guillermo Sánchez Plaza, Director of Technology, Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center, UPV

With the objectives of reducing cell-to-module losses, improving module efficiency and reducing the price per watt, increasing importance is being placed on the optical properties of backsheets. It is assumed that a higher reflectance backsheet allows a better reuse of incident sunlight. However, this statement is not always true: another factor must be taken in account, namely the angular dependence of the reflected light. In this regard, backsheets with a high specular component deviate from the ideal Lambertian reflectance, resulting in a minor increase in module current. As a result, differences can be found in module power because of the use of backsheets with similar global reflectance but different angular components of reflected light. A total of 33 industrial backsheets with Tedlar, Kynar, EVA and PET layers from different suppliers were analysed. A comparison of backsheets with low and high global reflectances revealed that the power variation in a standard PV module reaches 0.54% abs. In the same vein, and for backsheets with similar global reflectances, it was experimentally found that the angular response of the reflected light was responsible for a power difference of 0.22% abs. in a standard module.

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