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Corrosive effects of ammonia on PV modules and their evaluation

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By Urban Weber, Project Manager, SCHOTT AG; Ralf Eiden, Senior Manager, SCHOTT AG; Thorsten Sögding, Project Manager, SCHOTT AG; Kurt Nattermann, SCHOTT AG; Harry Engelmann, Project Manager, Module Development Department, SCHOTT Solar AG

Ammonia, a gas which has its roots in livestock farming, can have potentially detrimental effects on the lifetime and reliability of PV modules. Research into the degree of corrosive effects of this gas on modules is of utmost importance for any module manufacturer guaranteeing a certain specific lifetime for their product. Researchers from SCHOTT and SCHOTT Solar together with the DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft/German agricultural society) developed a test design involving humidity, temperature and ammonia gas. This design is based on permeation testing and microscopic analysis of samples aged under a controlled atmosphere or from outdoor exposure. Additionally, a highly accelerated test is presented which allows screening materials for use in PV modules within 84 hours. An Arrhenius type of model is used to calculate the acceleration factors involved. Based on this model, the proposed test design is equivalent to more than 20 years of outdoor exposure in the rural environment (in Central Europe).

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The eleventh edition of Photovoltaics International was published in February 2011 and features a special focus on PV modules from Fraunhofer CSP, SunPower and Heriot-Watt University. In addition, China Sunergy studies dark lines on mc-Si cells in Cell Processing and TU Freiburg looks at the challenges of the wire saw wafering process in Materials.

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