SDLE SunFarm
Global SunFarm Network
Automated Image Processing

Towards 50 Year Lifetime PV Modules: Double Glass versus Glass/Backsheet

Figures 1: (a) Glass/backsheet minimodule, (b) double glass minimodule and (c) indoor accelerated chamber at the SDLE Center (from left to right).

Overview of the project

To be able to meet the current and future energy requirements, renewable energy resources are important. In this aspect, photovoltaic (PV) modules are particularly attractive options. c-Si PV modules are being explored and deployed for this purpose. Upon real-world outdoor exposure conditions, the durability and lifetime of PV modules can be affected. In order to enhance the modules’ durability and lifetime, improved packaging materials and module architecture represent a major opportunity. This project is focused on identifying the advances needed to increase PV module lifetimes to 50 years by lowering module power degradation rates to ~ 0.2%/year so as to achieve the 2030 SunShot goal of $0.03/kWh. Fabrication of glass/backsheet and double glass modules using different packaging materials (white, UV-cutoff, and transparent variations of EVA and POE encapsulants) and cell types (mono-facial and bi-facial, multi-crystalline PERC cells) provide the module design space being explored. Four cell minimodules of both glass/backsheet and double glass module architectures will be exposed under both real-world and accelerated exposure conditions.  These stepwise evaluations include characterization of electrical (EL, PL, I-V), mechanical (4-point bending) and chemical (spectroscopy) degradation mechanisms. Degradation pathway models for the different architectures and packaging materials will illustrate the mechanisms which contribute most strongly to the degradation rate and thereby limit the lifetime performance of the modules. 

Members and collaborators

Roger H. French (Principal Investigator and Kyocera Professor, CWRU)

Laura S. Bruckman (Research Associate Professor, CWRU)

Jennifer L. Carter (Assistant Professor, CWRU)

Jiqi Liu (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, CWRU)

Sameera Nalin Venkat (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, CWRU)

Nick S. Bosco (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Jianfang Dai (Cybrid Technologies Inc.)

William J. Gambogi (DuPont Inc.)

Brent Brownell (Cybrid Technologies Inc.)

Yuan Gu (Canadian Solar Inc.)

Jean-Nicolas Jaubert (Canadian Solar Inc.)

Jennifer L. Braid (current affiliation: Sandia National Laboratories)



PVSC 47 evaluation abstract submission 

a. Mechanistic Insights to Degradation of PERC Minimodules with Differentiated Packaging Materials & Module Architectures (in progress)

b. Employing Fracture Statistics to Track Cell Reliability Through Module Fabrication (in progress)


a. 2020 PVSC SETO Poster Session

b. PVRW 2020 Poster Session

c. 2019 PVSC SETO Poster Session

d. 6th Annual Data Science Symposium-CWRU

Pictures from the project

Figure 2: (a) Daystar load unit with completed voltage, current and power connections, (b) 16 outdoor minimodules deployed for exposure.


Figure 3: Minimodules undergoing preconditioning at the SDLE Center.

Figure 4: Some of the instrumentation capabilities used in T50 (in order): (a) soldering instrument, (b) laminator, (c) 4-point bending flexure, (d) EL/PL system and images (top: (e) EL image, bottom: (f) PL image)


This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Agreement Number DE-EE-0008550.