Nondestructive Characterization and Accelerated UV Testing of Browned Field-Aged PV Modules

Dirk Jordan, Hamsini Gopalakrishna, Archana Sinha, Kshitiz Dolia, Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


Encapsulant browning is one of the most common degradation modes found in crystalline silicon field-aged photovoltaic modules. Browning, usually undetected unless severe, reduces the short-circuit current (Isc) produced by a module. Therefore, field-aged browned modules have been subjected to accelerated UV testing to obtain true end-of-life activation energy for the encapsulant browning mechanism. A novel time- and resource-saving accelerated UV exposure testing method simultaneously allowing multiple module temperatures to be maintained in a single chamber run is presented. Six field-aged crystalline silicon modules of glass/backsheet construction (three each from BP Solar/Solarex MSX 60 and Siemens M55) with similar glass and encapsulant formulation were exposed to a UV dosage of 450 kWh/m2. Through passive heating, the average module temperatures for the BP Solar/Solarex modules were 60 °C, 77 °C, and 85 °C and those of Siemens M55 were 75 °C, 80 °C, and 837 °C. To study UV browning, the modules were intermittently characterized through visual imaging, UV fluorescence imaging, electroluminescence imaging, quantum efficiency measurements, module, and cell-level light I-V measurements. An Isc decrease corroborated the increased extent of browning with increased module temperature. For the BP Solar/Solarex modules, the Low T, Mid T, and the High T modules showed a 1.37%, 2.48%, and 3.26% Isc drop, respectively. The Siemens modules showed a 4.11%, 5.65%, and 6.95% Isc drop. The multiple cell-level Isc data points obtained for each module temperature increased provided statistical significance. Activation energy for encapsulant browning was calculated as 0.44 and 0.72 eV for MSX 60 and M55 modules, respectively.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8827711
Pages (from-to)1733-1740
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-73201


  • Accelerated UV exposure
  • activation energy
  • characterization
  • encapsulant browning
  • field-aged PV modules
  • nondestructive
  • UV fluorescence imaging


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