Project Name: Reliability and Power Degradation Rates of PERC Modules Using Differentiated Packaging Strategies and Characterization Tools
Funding Opportunity: PVRD2
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Cleveland, OH
SETO Award Amount: $1,465,291
Awardee Cost Share: $175,830
Principal Investigator: Roger French

This project is conducting a systematic study of module degradation pathways in next generation passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) photovoltaic (PV) modules, benchmarking them relative to known degradation mechanisms and pathways of older module designs that have been exposed to real-world and accelerated exposure conditions. Statistical models are being used to understand the dominant physical degradation mechanisms that occur in the field, which allows for new and previously unmapped material interactions that are present in newly developed module architectures to be modeled, characterized, and ultimately accounted for in future design efforts.


The research team is working to validate degradation pathway models developed from accelerated exposures of mini modules against models built from power plant data and past accelerated exposures on full-size modules. The new models are being expanded to include results from high-resolution characterization tools, which connect microscopic information about module degradation to performance loss. The variables in the model include typical stressors along with data from mechanistic and performance evaluations for a complete multivariate network model predicting performance and guiding improvement schemes. 


This project will demonstrate the feasibility of a data-driven method for determining degradation phenomena in a fast and extremely sensitive manner. The final product will be degradation pathway models for both mono- and multi-crystalline PERC full-size modules as a function of their packaging materials. These models will reveal the physical mechanisms connecting specific encapsulant or backsheet materials to decreased performance in the field to inform durable module design.