Standards Development for Modules in High Temperature Micro-Environments

Michael D. Kempe, Derek Holsapple, Kent Whitfield, Narendra Shiradkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus Citations


Photovoltaic (PV) module qualification standards, IEC 61215 and IEC 61730, were designed to apply to “general open-air climates” and IEC 61730 specifically indicated applicability of ambient air temperature of 40°C. Additionally, these standards provided allowances for so-called “open rack mounted PV modules” without a clear definition of “open-rack.” These implied restrictions and allowances meant that hotter climates or thermally restrictive installation methods may not be covered by these often customer-mandated certification standards. This is particularly salient for the significant growth regions of the Middle East and India that would be expected to operate at significantly higher temperatures. The applicability of these documents raised issues over the definition of “open rack” and the fact that the geographic location is just as important as the mounting configuration in assessing the impact of the micro-environment of a PV module. This work summarizes the scientific background for IEC Technical Specification 63126:2020 ED1, titled “Guidelines for qualifying PV modules components and materials for operation at high temperatures.” This standard was recently published by the IEC and is the first step in a systematic effort to rework these standards to address the question of temperature more directly. Instead of specifying a mounting condition, we specify different suites of tests suitable for a system (PV module, mounting style, and location) defined by the 98th percentile cell temperature. With a defined temperature regime to work from, this allowed us to use existing literature research combined with additional modeling work to determine, which tests would need to be modified. This resulted in suggested changes to material thermal indices, thermal cycling temperatures, hot spot testing, ultraviolet testing, and bypass diode testing among other tests and characteristics described herein.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)445-460
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-77100


  • durability
  • high temperature
  • micro-environment
  • photovoltaic
  • reliability
  • safety
  • standards


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