Materials can be key to differences in module durability


By Dr. Alex Bradley, DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions

Defect assessment | DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions recently completed a five-year study of commercial crystalline silicon PV systems, amassing a wealth of new information about PV system field experience and PV module defects. Principal investigator Alexander Bradley discusses the findings, which, in addition to supporting the company’s ongoing analysis of materials performance, are expected to provide benefits across the industry. Building on the industry knowledge pool contributes towards the standardisation of performance expectations across the solar industry, enables the development of more stringent risk mitigation techniques, and helps purchasers of solar power systems make educated and informed materials assessments.

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For those in the utility solar business, 2015 has so far offered no shortage of landmarks. Since the start of the year, the record for the world’s largest PV power plant has been both equalled and beaten, with the completion in the US of the Desert Sunlight and Solar Star projects respectively. The industry has also notched up two important pricing milestones. In January 2015, news broke that a project in Dubai had attracted what was thought to be the lowest ever bid price for a solar project, of US$0.0585/kWh. That record proved short lived, however, when, in July, US firm First Solar revealed it had agreed to a price of US$0.0387/kWh for power from its 100MW Playa Solar 2 project in Nevada.

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