TOPCon modules endure ‘significant degradation’ in damp heat testing compared to PERC

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
University of New South Wales TOPCon testing.
Images of TOPCon modules taken before and after 1,000 hours of damp heat testing (left) and the electroluminescence image ratio of TOPCon modules. Image: University of New South Wales, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells

Scientists from the University of New South Wales have published a report into passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC) and tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar modules, finding that the latter has endured “significant degradation” in damp heat testing.

The results of the study were published in the report, ’Buyer aware: Three new failure modules in TOPCon modules absent from PERC technology’. The researchers tested a range of both TOPCon and PERC modules, with varying components, such as polyolefin elastomer and ethyl-vinyl acetate, to determine how exposure to damp heat environments could affect the modules’ performance.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

They found that variations in components made little difference to the performance of the modules in this environment, but that the use of TOPCon versus PERC technology made a significant difference. Over 1,000 hours of testing in damp heat environments, PERC modules endured a maximum power loss of just 1-2% relative, compared to a much higher, and wider-ranging, power loss of 4-65% relative in TOPCon modules.

The team suggested that “electrochemical reactions involving moisture” were likely to blame for the poor performance among TOPCon modules, with three types of failures observed among TOPCon modules: point-localised failure, failure at the connection point of ribbons and busbars and failure throughout “the whole area of cells [and] modules”.

While the researchers noted that the specific contaminant responsible for this decline in output is “unclear at present”, they speculated that the presence of sodium and chlorine on solar modules, transmitted from human fingertips during assembly and transportation, could have an effect on TOPCon cell, which were “found to be particularly vulnerable”.

This could be a significant development as TOPCon modules are expected to become more commonplace in the global solar sector. Vitor Rodrigues, technical director of Iberia and Latin America at GCL SI, spoke at Large Scale Solar Europe summit in London this week, and announced that “PERC will start to disappear” in 2024 as developers shift their focus from PERC to other technologies, such as TOPCon.

“Urgent and extensive research efforts are crucial to substantially increase our comprehension and fortify the reliability of TOPCon cells against the pernicious effects of moisture and other contaminants,” wrote the researchers in the report, highlighting the importance of further research into the performance of TOPCon modules in humid environments.

21 May 2024
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 21-22 May 2024, will be our third PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2025 and beyond.
30 May 2024
11am (CEST)
Astronergy has introduced its latest module product series, ASTRO N7 and ASTRO N7s, both of which utilise rectangular wafers. ASTRO N7, based on the 210mm*182mm wafer, is specifically tailored for utility-scale systems. It features dimensions of 2382mm*1134mm and a 66-cell layout design that effectively lowers Voc and increases string size. This design feature significantly reduces tracker and cable costs, leading to a reduction in LCOE by 0.44% to 4.37% compared to 182mm-wafer TOPCon modules. Furthermore, ASTRO N7 incorporates advanced cell and module technologies such as laser-induced firing, super multi-busbar, light-redirecting film, and double-layer coating glass to enhance module power output and reliability. Join us to explore the latest advances in module technology and how they can improve module performance and learn about the economic advantage of rectangular-wafer modules and their benefits at a system level.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
May 21, 2024
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
May 21, 2024
Sydney, Australia
Solar Media Events
May 22, 2024
London, UK
Upcoming Webinars
May 29, 2024
11am (EDT) / 5pm (CEST)