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Degradation of Fielded PV Modules in Three Climates After Eight Years
D.S. Riley, C. Robinson, B.H. King, J.S. Stein
Photovoltaic Modules and BoS Components
Subtopic: PV Module Design, Manufacture, Performance and Reliability
Event: 37th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 4AV.1.9
ISBN: 3-936338-73-6
0,00 EUR
Document(s): poster


Degradation of PV modules throughout their lifetime has significant impact on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Furthermore, estimating accurate degradation rates prior to installation is important in determining the potential value of a system. Jordan et. al. [1] shows a distribution of reported degradation rates that varies from 0% per year to over 3% per year with median value of 0.5% per year and mean value of 0.8% per year. In 2009 through 2010, Sandia National Laboratories deployed three ≈1 kW PV systems of different module types at each of three locations throughout the US. The modules were chosen to represent different semiconductor technologies in production around 2008, including monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon modules in a framed glass/polymer backsheet package and a Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) module in a frameless glass/glass package. The locations were chosen to represent a range of possible climates available within the United States; a hot-dry desert climate in southern New Mexico (NM), a hot-humid, coastal climate in Cocoa, Florida (FL), and a cold snowy climate in Burlington, Vermont (VT). Figure 1 shows the location of each test site. Each site included two PV modules of each type that were stored indoors in darkness as control modules. Prior to installation, all modules including controls were tested at Sandia to characterize their performance. Pre-installation tests included electrical characterization on Sandia’s 2-axis tracker to derive Sandia Array Performance Model (SAPM) coefficients [2] for approximately 1/3 of the modules along with visual imaging and infrared (IR) imaging for all the modules.