23. May 2023

Gernot Oreski: Challenges for new photovoltaic material & module developments

Exner Lectures 2023 – Gernot Oreski (Polymer Competence Center Leoben)

In the last decade and longer, photovoltaic module manufacturers have experienced a rapidly growing market along with a dramatic decrease in module prices. Such cost pressures have resulted in a drive to develop and implement new module designs, which either increase performance and/or lifetime of the modules or decrease the cost to produce them. In this paper, the main motivations and benefits but also challenges for material innovations will be discussed. Many of these innovations include the use of new and novel materials in place of more conventional materials or designs. As a result, modules are being produced and sold without a long-term understanding about the performance and reliability of these new materials. This has led to unexpected new failure mechanisms occurring few years after deployment, such as potential induced degradation or backsheet cracking. None of these failure modes have been detected after the back then common single stress tests. New accelerated test approaches are based on a combination or sequence of multiple stressors that better reflect outdoor conditions. That allows for identification of new degradation modes linked to new module materials or module designs.