Environmental requirements for flat plate photovoltaic modules for terrestrial applicationsThe environmental test requirements that have been developed for flat plate modules purchased through Department of Energy funding are described. Concurrent with the selection of the initial qualification tests from space program experience - temperature cycling and humidity - surveys of existing photovoltaic systems in the field revealed that arrays were experiencing the following failure modes: interconnect breakage, delamination, and electrical termination corrosion. These coupled with application-dependent considerations led to the development of additional qualification tests, such as cyclic pressure loading, warped mounting surface, and hail. Rationale for the selection of tests, their levels and durations is described. Comparisons between field-observed degradation and test-induced degradation show a positive correlation with some of the observed field effects. Also, the tests are proving useful for detecting design, process, and workmanship deficiencies. The status of study efforts for the development of environmental requirements for field-related problems is reviewed.
Hoffman, A. R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Ross, R. G., Jr. (California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena Calif., United States)