PV Lifetime Project - 2021 NREL Annual Report

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


DOE's PV Lifetime project was initiated in 2016 with the goal of accurately characterizing the early-life evolution of photovoltaic (PV) field performance. Different PV cell and module technologies result in different initial performance loss rates due to effects like light-induced degradation (LID) and light & elevated temperature-induced degradation (LeTID). To accurately characterize the initial field performance loss requires the use of high-accuracy indoor IV curve measurements at standard test conditions. Therefore, PV modules involved in this study are removed from the field once or twice per year and brought indoors for measurement. Current samples deployed and monitored in this way include Jinko Solar (2016), Trina Solar (2016), Hanwha Q-Cells (2017), Panasonic (2018), LG (2018), Canadian Solar (2018), Mission Solar (2019). More recently, modules from Sunpreme (2019), and LONGi (2020) have been deployed but not yet analyzed. Overall annual performance loss rates are as follows: our first modules to be deployed (Jinko and Trina) have annual median performance loss rate between -0.4%/yr and -0.9%/yr, mainly concentrated in the first year. The QCells mono-PERC and multi-PERC modules have an annual degradation rate of -0.76%/yr and -0.69%/yr respectively, also concentrated in the first year of operation. Panasonic and LG modules displayed negligible performance loss in the past two years, at 0.1%/yr and -0.0%/yr respectively. They also were the only modules with initial IV curve measurements consistently above the nameplate rating. Possibly relatedly, these are also the only two N-type silicon module types analyzed so far. Canadian Solar multi-PERC modules demonstrated a -1.3%/yr degradation rate which actually accelerated in the past year, so this will be a module type to monitor in future years. Mission Solar modules exhibited strong recoverable performance loss, consistent with LeTID susceptibility. (The same is true for the Jinko JKM260 module type). Annual performance loss actually showed improvement in time at +0.3%/yr after 2 years in the field, although the module initially was measured at 3% below nameplate rating. These modules could therefore be experiencing a form of post-LeTID recovery. Initial measurements have been conducted on the next two module types - Sunpreme n-HIT and LONGi bifacial mono-PERC. We will report on initial year-1 performance change for these modules in the next PV Lifetime annual report. For the remaining modules, an additional year of field exposure will provide greater certainty in annual degradation rates, particularly for those with degradation concentrated in the initial year of field deployment.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages49
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5K00-81172


  • degradation
  • LeTID
  • PV lifetime


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