Fault Identification in Crystalline Silicon PV Modules by Complementary Analysis of the Light and Dark Current-Voltage Characteristics

Peter Hacke, Sergiu Spataru, Dezso Sera, Tamas Kerekes, Remus Teodorescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus Citations

Abstract

This article proposes a fault identification method, based on the complementary analysis of the light and dark current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of the photovoltaic (PV) module, to distinguish between four important degradation modes that lead to power loss in PV modules: (i) degradation of the electrical circuit of the PV module (cell interconnect breaks; corrosion of the junction box, module cables, and connectors); (ii) mechanical damage to the solar cells (cell microcracks and fractures); (iii) potential-induced degradation (PID) sustained by the module; and (iv) optical losses affecting the module (soiling, shading, and discoloration). The premise of the proposed method is that different degradation modes affect the light and dark I-V characteristics of the PV module in different ways, leaving distinct signatures. This work focuses on identifying and correlating these specific signatures present in the light and dark I-V measurements to specific degradation modes; a number of new dark I-V diagnostic parameters are proposed to quantify these signatures. The experimental results show that these dark I-V diagnostic parameters, complemented by light I-V performance and series-resistance measurements, can accurately detect and identify the four degradation modes discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)517-532
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-63016

Keywords

  • cell cracks
  • dark I-V characteristic
  • degradation
  • fault identification
  • optical losses
  • potential-induced degradation
  • series resistance

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