Abstract

The energy capacity of photovoltaic (PV) installations worldwide has increased significantly in the last decade, increasing the demand for rigorous investigation of the physical phenomena causing degradation and failures in PV modules. As PV reliability science develops, established methods and approaches from longer-standing industries can inform and expedite PV reliability advances. This work demonstrates how thermomechanical solder bond fatigue models derived for electronics packaging applications can be applied to both standard and emerging PV interconnect designs. This expertise cannot be directly translated to PV however, as target PV module lifetimes are significantly longer than most electronics and the modules must withstand the natural climate wherever they are deployed. Verification of analytical reliability models is then an additional challenge, due to model size, test time, and climate variability. Furthermore, unconventional materials, such as low-temperature solders, are now being integrated into PV designs, for which appropriate material models must be selected and material parameters derived. In this paper, the current state of PV interconnect research is explored, with an emphasis on the experimental and simulation approaches and models being used for this work. Recent results for standard module architectures as well as emerging interconnect schemes are discussed.

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