Instrumentation for accelerated life tests of concentrator solar cells

Núñez, N.; Vázquez, M.; González, J. R.; Jiménez, F. J.; Bautista, J.
February 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Feb2011, Vol. 82 Issue 2, p024703
Academic Journal
Concentrator photovoltaic is an emergent technology that may be a good economical and efficient alternative for the generation of electricity at a competitive cost. However, the reliability of these new solar cells and systems is still an open issue due to the high-irradiation level they are subjected to as well as the electrical and thermal stresses that they are expected to endure. To evaluate the reliability in a short period of time, accelerated aging tests are essential. Thermal aging tests for concentrator photovoltaic solar cells and systems under illumination are not available because no technical solution to the problem of reaching the working concentration inside a climatic chamber has been available. This work presents an automatic instrumentation system that overcomes the aforementioned limitation. Working conditions have been simulated by forward biasing the solar cells to the current they would handle at the working concentration (in this case, 700 and 1050 times the irradiance at one standard sun). The instrumentation system has been deployed for more than 10 000 h in a thermal aging test for III-V concentrator solar cells, in which the generated power evolution at different temperatures has been monitored. As a result of this test, the acceleration factor has been calculated, thus allowing for the degradation evolution at any temperature in addition to normal working conditions to be obtained.


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