The Influence of PV Module Materials and Design on Solder Joint Thermal Fatigue Durability

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Finite element model (FEM) simulations have been performed to elucidate the effect of flat plate photovoltaic (PV) module materials and design on PbSn eutectic solder joint thermal fatigue durability. The statistical method of Latin Hypercube sampling was employed to investigate the sensitivity of simulated damage to each input variable. Variables of laminate material properties and their thicknesses were investigated. Using analysis of variance, we determined that the rate of solder fatigue was most sensitive to solder layer thickness, with copper ribbon and silicon thickness being the next two most sensitive variables. By simulating both accelerated thermal cycles (ATCs) and PV cell temperature histories through two characteristic days of service, we determined that the acceleration factor between the ATC and outdoor service was independent of the variables sampled in this study. This result implies that an ATC test will represent a similar time of outdoor exposure for a wide range of module designs. This is an encouraging result for the standard ATC that must be universally applied across all modules.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number7575722
Pages (from-to)1407-1412
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-65038


  • Acceleration factor
  • photovoltaic (PV) reliability
  • solder fatigue
  • thermal cycling


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