Chapter 10.3: Reliability and Durability of PV Modules

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Each year the world invests tens of billions of dollars or euros in PV systems with the expectation that these systems will last approximately 25 years. Although the disciplines of reliability, quality, and service life prediction have been well established for numerous products, a full understanding of these is currently challenging for PV modules because the desired service lifetimes are decades, preventing direct verification of lifetime predictions. A number of excellent reviews can be found in the literature summarizing the types of failures that are commonly observed for PV modules. This chapter discusses key failure/degradation mechanisms selected to highlight how the kinetics of failure rates can and cannot be confidently predicted. For EVA-encapsulated modules, corrosion is observed to follow delamination, which then allows water droplets to directly contact the metallization. Extended test protocols such as Qualification Plus were created to address the known problems while standards groups update standard tests through the consensus process.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPhotovoltaic Solar Energy: From Fundamentals to Applications
EditorsA. Reinders, P. Verlinden, W. van Sark, A. Freundlich
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5J00-63464


  • corrosion
  • degradation mechanisms
  • EVA-encapsulated modules
  • metallization
  • PV systems
  • Qualification Plus
  • service life prediction
  • test protocols


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