What is Performance?

At PVMC, performance testing is a calculated balance of indoor accelerated lifetime testing and outdoor field-testing to effectively identify, analyze, and offer corrective suggestions for failures. We are improving the reliability of PV modules so that our members can earn an edge in the competitive PV market.

Outdoor Performance

Establishing CIGS-specific capabilities for regional and customer-sited testing

  • Testing arrays under multi-regional and real-world conditions is critical for (1) providing design cycle data to manufacturers, (2) ensuring that predictive performance tools accurately account for enhanced properties of CIGS modules, such as low light level and shading performance, and (3) providing stakeholders with validated outdoor performance data.

    The Outdoor Performance project is building test arrays comprised of CIGS modules from various manufacturers and comparing measured performance to predicted performance. Predictive tools used by the industry today are not necessarily optimized for CIGS PV arrays; one of the goals of this project is to improve the capability of these tools for CIGS analysis.

    Outdoor Performance

    The Outdoor Performance project has capacity for installing and monitoring ground-mounted, rooftop, and tracker-enabled systems and is closely tied with the Indoor Accelerated Lifetime Testing to correlate outdoor testing results to indoor testing.

Indoor Accelerated Lifetime Testing

Identifying failure mechanisms and developing models to estimate lifetime

PVMC is working closely with the CIGS industry to identify a set of protocols for indoor accelerated testing to identify and replicate field failures by simulating outdoor stress conditions. The main objective of the IALT project are to

  • design and establish advanced indoor testing plans for replicating near- and long-term failures,
  • identify failure modes using multifactor stress conditions which are directly related to observed outdoor stress conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, light, and load,
  • investigate the activation energy of temperature-related failures,
  • develop and test "standard test structures" to identify failure mechanisms linked to failure modes, and
  • develop appropriate kinetic models to estimate lifetimes.
  • Indoor Accelerated Lifetime Testing.jpg