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Failure analysis of design qualification testing: 2007 vs. 2005

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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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The first edition of the Photovoltaics International journal, published in August 2008, was created in response to what was deemed to be a growing need for an unbiased technical publication for the solar cell and module manufacturing industry. With this in mind, the first edition of Photovoltaics International saw the commissioning of papers from a wide range of sectors, such as NREL’s overview of the CPV sector, IMEC’s thin-film efficiency gains via plasma texturing, site selection with IBM PLI, Q-Cells on silicon nitride thin films and Navigant Consulting’s market overview.

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