Fraunhofer ISE, Fraunhofer CSE Introduce Photovoltaic Module Durability Initiative

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) in Freiburg, Germany, and the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (Fraunhofer CSE) in Cambridge, Mass., and Albuquerque, N.M., have jointly developed a new PV module testing protocol.

The initiative, called the PV Module Durability Initiative (PVDI), is designed to provide additional information for investors and offer a more robust testing protocol for a wide range of PV modules, exceeding the demands of the International Electrotechnical Commission's standard module certification.

According to the institutes, the PVDI is the first widely available program to generate extensive quantitative reliability data for modules regarding their expected lifetime under different kinds of stress.

The key differentiating features of the PVDI include extended accelerated testing, UV testing, and damp-heat testing with positive and negative voltage bias, as well as dynamic mechanical stress testing. Also included are typical stresses such as temperature cycling, humidity-freeze, and damp-heat, which have been extended in order to come closer to the actual lifetime stress of a module.

Testing according to the PVDI 2012 Test Protocol are expected to start in October. Initial data will be published in the second quarter of 2012.


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