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Minimizing measurement uncertainties: Challenges for power measurement of high-efficiency c-Si PV modules

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By Christos Monokroussos, TÜV Rheinland, Shanghai, China; Johannes Stang, TÜV Rheinland, Cologne, Germany

High-efficiency (HE) PV technologies, such as heterojunction, back-contact or n-type, can be affected by significant measurement errors compared with conventional technologies; the power measurement of HE crystalline silicon PV modules and cells has therefore been a challenge for the PV industry for at least two decades. To deal with the internal capacitance and the spectral mismatch errors of HE cells and modules, various measurement techniques are currently used: steady-state, multi-flash, dynamic I–V, DragonBack™ and dark I–V and reconstruction methods, to name a few. This paper discusses the challenges and provides guidance for best practice for acquiring accurate measurements.

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In the past few issues of Photovoltaics International we have tracked in detail plans being implemented by the leading module manufacturers to expand production capacity. That process began tentatively last year as end-market demand began to catch up with the chronic overcapacity that had built up in the preceding years, prompting industry-wide upheaval. Our latest capacity expansion report (p.11), a unique resource in the industry, reveals that while that activity was maintained throughout much of 2014, spiking in a strong final quarter of 2014, announcements of new capacity slowed slightly in the opening quarter of this year. Nevertheless, all the signs point to the pace picking up again later this year as manufacturers look to take advantage of the surge in activity expected in the US at the back end of this year and into 2016, in anticipation of the cutting back of the solar investment tax credit at the end of that year.

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