Linearity Testing of Photovoltaic Cells: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Photovoltaic devices are rated in terms of their peak power with respect to a specific spectrum, total irradiance, and temperature. To rate photovoltaic devices, a reference detector is required whose response is linear with total irradiance. This paper describes a procedure to determine the linearity of the short-circuit current (Isc) versus the total irradiance (Etot) by illuminating areference cell with two lamps. A device is linear if the current measured with both lamps illuminating the cell is the same as the sum of the currents with each lamp illuminating the cell. The two-lamp method is insensitive to the light spectra or spatial nonuniformity changing with irradiance. The two-lamp method is rapid, easy to implement, and does not require operator intervention to changethe irradiances. The presence of room light only limits the lowest irradiance that can be evaluated. Unlike other methods, the two-lamp method does not allow the current to be corrected for nonlinear effects.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2006
Event2006 IEEE 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC-4) - Waikoloa, Hawaii
Duration: 7 May 200612 May 2006


Conference2006 IEEE 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC-4)
CityWaikoloa, Hawaii

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-39854


  • devices
  • PV
  • short circuit current (ISC)
  • spectrum
  • temperature
  • total irradiance
  • two-lamp method


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