Project Name: Characterization of Contact Degradation in Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Modules
Funding Opportunity: PVRD2
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Cocoa, FL
SETO Award Amount: $1,581,926
Awardee Cost Share: $395,781
Project Investigator: Kristopher Davis

This project is developing a highly-automated metrology solution that can non-destructively extract the series resistance and dark current of individual cells encapsulated within a photovoltaic (PV) module with minimal uncertainty for both parameters using calibrated electroluminescence imaging. This metrology can be used in reliability and durability evaluations to accelerate cycles of learning and to help develop new technologies and integrate them into high-volume manufacturing.


The research team will augment electroluminesce (EL) imaging with modeling and extensive calibration to enable it to measure cell series resistance and cell dark current. The metrology technique will be further refined to extract resistance components and dark current components from a silicon cell EL image. The technique will be calibrated against the transmission line method structures from standard modules to establish a baseline for contact resistivity measurements of pristine and degraded modules. The team will then evaluate the effectiveness of the calibrated EL imaging as a tool for monitoring contact degradation via accelerated aging and will confirm the metrology’s ability to accurately detect changes in resistance and dark current upon aging. Finally, they will design, build, and validate a prototype system to automate the calibrated EL imaging.


This project has the ability to reduce the levelized cost of electricity by minimizing variance in production, reducing the number of failures due to contact and interconnect failure, reducing degradation rates due to contact and interconnect degradation, and accelerating the adoption of new technologies.