Finding tiny cracks in a silicon solar cell is not that easy, particularly given that these cracks initially have little or no effect on module performance. But a number of common occurrences in a module’s lifetime can cause cracks to grow, rendering whole areas of a cell useless. And this is increasingly being recognized as one of the most significant risks to module reliability – one which the PV industry is hard at work to mitigate.
With bifacial modules making their way into the mainstream, tracker manufacturers and energy companies are operating test facilities around the world. To drive the LCOE as low as possible, tracker manufacturers now also care about what is happening underneath the modules, and not just above. As the power comes from light reflected from the ground, increasing that reflectivity has been mooted by many stakeholders. This is not without complication, however, and the quest for optimization goes into the next round.
The engineering, procurement and construction services contractor – which has a 1.2 GW module production facility near Kolkata – will establish a wafer, cell and module manufacturing site in Tamil Nadu under a five-year timescale.
Electroluminescence imaging is gaining traction in the field at project sites for operations and maintenance and to support PV plant mergers and acquisitions. EL testing can help PV asset owners evaluate power plant system health and can predict potential future underperformance and failures. Tristan Erion-Lorico, the head of PVEL’s module business, and dowstream business chief Andrew Sundling discuss the outlook for this enabling technology.
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