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This article is organized as follows: In Section 2, the experimental procedures for the cell -crack formation, electrical isolation of the individual PV cells within a PV module, and characterization of these PV cells are presented. In Section 3, the electrical characteristics of the individual PV cells are summarized, including the elevation of the minority carrier recombination, which is determined by the AC impedance parameters. Additionally, we discuss not only the detection mechanisms of microcracks but also the applications to practically evaluate PV modules and systems, in Section 4.
As presented in our previous report , various types of cell cracks were observed in the PV module after the nonuniform mechanical loading test, which included Mode B/C cracks (with inactive cell area(s) detectable in the EL image) and Mode A cracks (without any inactive cell area) [15, 19], as shown in Fig 3A. Based on the rating criteria, the individual PV cells with cell cracks were divided into two groups, particularly, the cracked cells with or without the inactive cell area were categorized as hard-cracked (HC) or minorly cracked (MC) cells, respectively. In these HC cells, the inactive areas were identified in the central region of the respective PV cells (e.g., C08 cell), as well as at the edges of the PV cells (e.g., C07 cell). The PV cells without cracks were referred to as non-cracked (NC) cells. The spatial distributions of these cell groups in the PV module are shown in Fig 3B, accompanied by the cell address, defined by the location of the respective PV cells within the PV module. Although the distribution of these cracked cells (HC and MC cells) within the PV module did not sufficiently coincide with that of the MSPP applied to the PV module, these cells are likely to be located in steep regions in the applied MSPP . To quantitatively assess the extent of power loss attributed to the cell cracks, the respective maximum powers of the individual PV cells were measured and indicated in the cell matrix of the PV module (Fig 3C) as values normalized with the pristine Pmax in individual PV cells (4.997 W/cell). It is recognized that obvious power loss occurred the HC cells, although that in the MC cells was not detectable at a glance, as reported in the PV module with only Mode A cracks .
The crack-class (HC-, MC-, or NC-cell) rated for the respective PV cells is indicated by the top legend. The distributions of the normalized Pmax are denoted as box-and-whisker plots, in a multicomparison chart for the categorized PV cells (inset). The open circles express outliers, and the figures shown in the inset chart represent the respective p-values in the multicomparison.
For PV cells encapsulated in a PV module, we demonstrated the evolution of various electrical signatures in PV cells with (MC and HC cells) or without (NC cells) cell cracks. In this study, the evolution from the pristine state of the respective PV cells has not been directly shown because we applied a typical destructive analysis (the electrical isolation of each cell from the electrical circuit of a PV module); the confounding factor(s) may affect the evolution of these signatures. However, we can presume that the evolutions identified in this study are attributed to cell cracks for following three reasons: 1) Each electrical signature of all the PV cells within a commercially available PV module can be presumed to have similar values with a certain deviation range, similar to a normal distribution, because the latest PV modules are manufactured under good quality control conditions. In fact, the saturation current densities (J01 and J02) of all PV cells have their respective monomodal distributions with a small variation range, and those of the cracked PV cells cannot be distinguished from those in the noncracked PV cells (Fig 12). 2) Although there is a bias in the distribution of the electrical signature of the respective PV cells within a pristine PV module, it is unlikely that the PV cells in the biased positions of the distribution would meaningfully correspond to the PV cells with cracks induced by mechanical stress. However, the time constant in the cracked PV cells is confined to one side of the distribution (Fig 8). 3) Significant evolutions of the electrical signatures (Pmax, Isc, Imp, FF, and d-Rs) were observed in the cracked PV cells with electrically inactive regions, coinciding with the results reported in previous publications (in particular, in ). Therefore, we conclude that the evolution of these electrical characteristics, which were observed in this study, should be predominantly used to study cell cracks.
In this study, we observed a remarkable reduction in the AC impedance spectroscopy time constant for all cell-crack modes including microcracks, although the evolutions in other electrical signatures were not meaningfully related to microcracks in the PV cells within a PV module. Because this reduction reflects the elevation of the minority-carrier recombination at the p-n junction in the c-Si PV cell, we deduced that cell cracks located in a PV cell can be quantitatively assessed using this electrically measurable signature. This work is the first attempt to comprehensively elucidate the electrical behavior of cracks located in individual PV cells encapsulated in a PV module mimicking wind-load damage, by AC impedance spectroscopy with various DC bias voltages. Therefore, the signature identified in this procedure could be a valuable indicator and beneficial technique for assessing the health of PV modules and systems through practical verification.
Calculation of the output power loss for the solar cell samples after PID test was completed, the results are also compared with the measurements taken from the cracked solar cell samples earlier shown in Fig. 6 (a) at 1 Sun, (b) at 0.5 Sun.
Researchers have found that crack percentages of up to 11% have a very limited impact on solar cell performance. They also ascertained that hotspots are likely to arise when the crack percentage is in the range of 11 to 34%.
The UK group submitted the cells to solar illumination under varying irradiance of 100-1000 W/m2 and their temperature was kept constant at 25 C. Through these measurements, it found the solar cells were affected by crack percentages ranging from 1% to 58%.
According to the academics, their findings confirm that small cracks have a negligible effect on solar cell output, and they develop no hotspots. They also found that a crack percentage of over 46% is also insufficient to develop a hotspot, as there is a significant inactive area in the cells, which means the localized heat can be critical but not enough area to develop a hotspot.
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Advances in microelectromechanical systems has generated an ever growing demand for novel insulating material applicable to high temperature systems. Photonic bandgap materials are appealing for such applications, specifically Ta2O5 due to its high index of refraction, refractory nature and negligible absorbance in the infrared region. The challenge faced in the realization of such materials is the synthesis of crack free Ta2O5 films whose thickness is in the order of a quarter wavelength of the incident infrared radiation.
This work seeks to investigate the effect of addition of polyvinyl pyrollidone (PVP) as a binder material in the sol gel synthesis of thick, uniform and crack free Ta2O5 films. Incorporation of PVP into the sol precursor has enabled uniform and crack free films with thicknesses of up to 2.4 microns to be realized. Chemical probing of the precursor was conducted via TGA, FTIR, and NMR analysis of the sol to elucidate the processes behind this film formation. The calcined oxide films were characterized via SEM, XRD and XPS.
AKID, Robert, DMYTRAKH, I. M. and GONZALEZ-SANCHEZ, J. (2006). Fatigue damage accumulation: the role of corrosion on the early stages of crack development. Corrosion engineering science and technology, 41 (4), 328-335.
WANG, Y. Z., AKID, R., CLARKE, A. and ATKINSON, J. D. (1996). Further observations of early fatigue crack development. Fatigue and fracture of engineering materials and structures, 19 (5), 623-627.
Tin oxide thin films were prepared by sol-gel dip coating technique using Tin(II) chloride dihydrate (SnCl22H2O) as the precursor. X-ray diffraction pattern of SnO2 thin film annealed at 450 C showed tetragonal phase with a particle size 8.2 nm. Scanning electron microscopy images showed crack free surface with agglomeration of grains. The electrical resistance decreased with increase in annealing temperature. The transmittance spectra gave transmittance greater than 80 % which found applications in anti-reflection coatings. The energy band gap values (3.78-3.87 eV) increased with the increase in annealing temperature, which was due to Moss-Burstein shift. Photoluminescence spectra gave an intense UV emission band at 396 nm. ``Blue shift'' of the films with annealing temperature originated from the formation of strain in the film due to lattice distortions. Nanocrystalline SnO2 thin film with wide band gap and short wavelength luminescence emission can serve as a better luminescent material for light-emitting devices.