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Abstract

The Atacama Desert receives the highest levels of solar irradiance in the world with an annual average of 2500 kWh/m(2) for the global horizontal irradiance and 3500 kWh/m(2) for the direct normal irradiance. One of the challenges is the large portion of ultraviolet light. This part of the spectrum be detrimental for the encapsulant materials, reducing their lifetime. To develop a module adapted to the Atacama Desert conditions, it is imperative to have standardized information from first-hand about the typical faults experienced by photovoltaic modules operating in the desert. This work reports on the design and implementation of the Inspection Data Collection Tool to evaluate crystalline silicon-based moules operating in desert climates. The tool brings together novel features of compatibility with current standards, efficient mobile-type instrumentation (equipment and tools), clear procedures/protocols for non-expert users and low development costs. A total of 95 modules were inspected to characterize failure/degradation issues. Three components of the solar modules were assessed: front cover glass, ethylene-vinyl acetate encapsulant and solar cells. Seven abnormalities were analyzed: Soiling, front cover glass discoloration, encapsulant delamination, hotspots, partial shading, cell fracture and faulty soldering. Soiling was the most common issue, showing correlation between dust deposition and location.

Authors

Vasquez, Pia;  Devoto, Ignacia;  Ferrada, Pablo;  Taquichiri, Abel;  Portillo, Carlos;  Palma-Behnke, Rodrigo

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