Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Atlas offers an extensive range of light exposure and weathering services and instruments for the solar-thermal, photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated PV (CPV) industries for testing both module and material durability. Atlas has more than 30 years of measurement and testing experience to support the solar industry.

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Since the early 1970s, when the first photovoltaic panels for Skylab 1 were exposed in the custom SuperMAQ solar concentrating device at Atlas’ DSET Laboratories, Atlas has been an innovator in photovoltaic durability testing.

Atlas created the first weathering durability-specific PV module testing program in 2009, called Atlas 25+, and a 4-track inverter reliability test program in 2013, in response to industry demands not being met with the existing testing methods.

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Atlas is a specialist in PV durability at its Solar Test Center based in the DSET Laboratories Arizona test facility and has a large array grid-tied exposure services at its Miami test facility.

Atlas actively participates and supports key testing initiatives and standards, such as the SOPHIA European Research Infrastructures, the Photovoltaic Quality Assurance Task Group and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Atlas has also collaborated with the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology to fund a range of biennial Atlas-NIST Workshops on Photovoltaic Materials Durability.

The xenon arc Weather-Ometers and Xenotest tools from Atlas are widely used by government research laboratories and key manufacturers in the United States.

This includes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, among others, for accelerated weathering investigations of PV materials, including encapsulants and backsheets.

Other polymeric parts, for example, polymeric topsheets, junction boxes, PV balance-of-system (BOS) components and alternative technologies like Organic Photovoltaics (OPV), are also investigated.

Atlas Solutions

The majority of laboratory solar and weather durability testing is conducted in Ci Series Weather-Ometers or flatbed SUNTEST XXL+ xenon arc lamp weathering instruments for ‘laminated mini-module’ test samples, BOS component materials and PV materials.

Xenotest instruments can be utilized to test smaller material test coupons, for example, encapsulant materials and polymer backsheet. Atlas’ commercial laboratories in Germany and the United States can be chosen to perform the testing.

Outdoor accelerated weathering of mini-modules and PV materials can be conducted in the Atlas-NRL jointly produced Ultra Accelerated Weathering System (UAWS) or any of the altazimuth solar tracking and concentrating Equatorial Mount with Mirrors for Acceleration (EMMA/EMMAQUA) range of instruments.

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Atlas’ Solar Test Center in Arizona or the SFTS Miami test facility are the most commonly used facilities to perform outdoor static investigations of BIPV products and ground mount PV modules, for example, fenestration and roofing.

The Miami location is also able to evaluate grid-tied arrays.

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Atlas produced the first PV module comprehensive weather durability testing program, Atlas 25+, to supplement the IEC Design Type Qualification tests. This system has continually developed to meet the demands of specific backsheet and module research organizations and manufacturers.

Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

The main component of Atlas 25+ is the large environmental and solar test chamber at the Arizona Solar Test Center. This offers true-to-life cyclic environmental testing under different climate factors with modules functioning under solar load.

Atlas Custom Systems offer large scale customized and standard solar simulation systems which can additionally be installed into environmental chambers.

Atlas can tailor programs and tests to meet specific client objectives and needs. Along with this, the Atlas Solar Test Center in Arizona can offer:

  • 100 x UV solar exposure for material qualification and material durability investigations
  • Accelerated outdoor exposures employing the EMMAQUA solar concentrating system, able to expose complete modules or individual cells
  • I-V curve tracing (outdoor or steady state solar simulator)
  • SolarClimatic environmental or solar testing for temperature cycling under solar loading, with or without freeze and thaw or moisture
  • Wet leakage current measurements
  • Thermal imaging and electroluminescence
  • Customized and specialized test services for solar PV and thermal systems
  • Six luminary SolarConstant solar simulation system
  • A range of qualification tests in line with IEC 61646, IEC 61215, and UL 1703.
  • Solar radiometric calibrations and measurements which are ISO accredited

Click here to download the White Paper

Environmental Durability of Photovoltaic Modules

Video Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

For more information on this source, please visit Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC. (2022, March 31). Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry. AZoM. Retrieved on December 02, 2022 from https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21439.

  • MLA

    Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC. "Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry". AZoM. 02 December 2022. <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21439>.

  • Chicago

    Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC. "Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21439. (accessed December 02, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC. 2022. Testing Durability in the Photovoltaic Industry. AZoM, viewed 02 December 2022, https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21439.

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit