SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Millions of Small Pressure Cycles Drive Damage in Cracked Solar Cells
Timothy J Silverman1, Nick Bosco1, Michael Owen-Bellini1, Cara Libby2, Michael G Deceglie1
1National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, United States
/2Electric Power Research Institute, Washington, DC, United States

We applied time-varying air pressure to a PV module containing newly cracked cells. The test used a new dynamic mechanical acceleration (DMX) apparatus. We applied pressure cycles similar to natural, wind-driven cycles. Compared to standard dynamic mechanical load (DML) tests, we applied much lower pressure (10 Pa to 300 Pa RMS) and many more cycles (one million at each of four pressure levels). We present a case study on a single cell in a commercial module. We monitored electrical continuity loss across cracks using electroluminescence (EL) imaging. 30 Pa pressure cycles caused permanent damage that continued worsening even after tens of thousands of cycles. After one million 30 Pa cycles, a series of 100 Pa cycles still caused new, permanent damage to existing cracks. 300 Pa cycles caused further worsening and introduced new cracks.