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Crawler Robot Photoluminescence System for High Throughput Failure Analysis and Quality Control of Installed PV Modules
F. Talkenberg, B. Doll, M. Hoffmann, R. Schüler, M. Baier, L. Lüer, C.J. Brabec, M. Menz
PV Systems – Modelling, Design, Operation and Performance
Subtopic: Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Event: 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5DO.2.3
ISBN: 3-936338-78-7
0,00 EUR
Document(s): presentation


Quality control and failure analysis of installed solar modules is a key to ensure performance, return of invest, and long lifecycles of PV systems. Especially utility-scale PV systems require professional performance checks and should undergo periodic quality testing [1]. An inspection after installation or possible damage events e.g. storm, hail, etc. is highly recommended. For this purpose the imaging techniques thermal (IR) and electroluminescence (EL) imaging have been used extensively during the last decade and were the two inspection methods of choice [2]. Whereby each of these methods has its strong and weak points, EL imaging has turned out to be specifically useful for identification of damaged modules as well as modules which might lead to a system power loss in the future [3]. On the contrary the EL measurements principle is rather slow due to the requirement of electrical contacting on module or string level. Photoluminescence (PL) technique offers a potential fast alternative to the established methods with comparable detection abilities, which we demonstrated in our previous work [4]. To be able to use PL for fast detection of defected PV modules, the excitation source and the camera need to be aligned over and moved along the modules. Therefore we developed a robot imaging system, which is driving on the PV modules surface in order to perform measurements. Other ground-based techniques (e.g. tripod) require focus and direction readjustment after every measurement. In opposite, our new approach keeps a constant distance between measurement unit and PV module, which guarantees stable measurement parameters, higher image quality and easier data analysis. Equipped with a lever arm, the imaging process can be done form different distances up to one meter. This enables significant faster data acquisition compared to other methods.