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Field study and analysis of backsheet

degradation in 450MW+ PV installations


Atlas-NIST Workshop 2017 December 4-6, 2017
Thomas Felder, Hongjie Hu, William Gambogi, Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Steven
MacMaster, Lucie Garreau-lles, and T. John Trout

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions

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Agenda
• DuPont Global Field Assessment Program

• Solar panel defects observed in the field


- By component
- By climate
- By roof vs ground mounting
- By age and backsheet type

• Field examples of backsheet defects


- Frontside yellowing
- Airside Yellowing and mechanical loss
- Cracking
- Busbar corrosion and glass breakage
- Tedlar® PVF field results

• Conclusions

2
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DuPont Global Field Assessment Program
By end of 2016, surveyed >190 global installations in NA, EU, and AP
45 module manufacturers, 450MW, 1,900,000 modules, newly commissioned to 30+ years in service

Thermal Imaging IR
camera identifying
hot spots in modules

TEP UA Sharp 165 neq5e2u b_2012-11-30T11-08-32.spc

0.5

0.4
Backsheet
0.3
identification and
Absorbance

0.2
degradation using
0.1 FTIR spectrometer
0

-0.1
4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500
W avenumbers [1/cm]

Multi-step Inspection Protocol


• Documentation of location, age, climate, module, energy production, visual & thermal imaging,
IR spectroscopy
• Defect categorization

Defect Analysis (FMEA) and Statistics


Working with many partners globally 3
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Field Degradation and Defect Categories
Cell defects
• Snail Trails
• Corrosion
• ARC Delamination Snail trails
Other defects
Ribbon corrosion

EVA defects
ARC delamination
• Yellowing Jbox Melting
• Delamination
Yellowing
Delamination Cable corrosion
from cell

Backsheet defects Delamination


• Air Side Yellowing Air side yellowing from glass
• Front Side Yellowing
• Cracking Glass breakage
Delamination
• Delamination
• Bubbling Front side
• Other yellowing
Cracking
4
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DuPont 2016 Field Analysis and Database - Overview

2016 Analysis 2016


453MW inspected Other Installations 197
Backsheet Encapsulant 0.5%
7.5% 2.7% Number of 1,919,000
Cell panels
11.3%
Average age 3.4
No defect (years)
78.0%
MW 453

Climate sample sizes 2016

Temperate
Tropical
Hot Arid
all climates

Data size more than doubled from 2015 to 453 MW 0 200,000 400,000 600,000

• All defects 22% KW inspected

• Cell related defects 11.3%


• Backsheet defects 7.5%
5
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Analysis of Climate on Defects Rates
2.7%
7.5% 0.5%
11.3% Temperate
Tropical
No defects
Hot Arid
Cell
Backsheet all climates

EVA 78.0% 0 200,000 400,000 600,000


Other defects KW inspected
45.0 30.0
40.0
25.0
35.0
30.0 20.0
% defects

% defects
25.0 1 Polymer 15.0
20.0
15.0
trends
10.0
1
10.0
5.0
5.0
0.0 0.0
Hot arid Tropical Temperate Hot arid Tropical Temperate

Cell and Metalization show less or small effect with Climate


Polymer Components (Backsheet and EVA) show stronger trend
• Hot arid > Tropical > Temperate
• Use Defect Rates to determine “harshness” of Climates?
• Dominant factor is likely Temperature, then UV
1 Temperate cell defects are dominated by Snail Trails, likely due to sampling 6
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Analysis of Defect Rates for Roof vs Ground Mounted Systems

0.2% 0.1%
7.0% 2.8% 0.5%
No defects 11.3%
25.3%
Cell
Backsheet
63.0% 78.4%
EVA
Other defects
11.3%
Roof mounted, 11.7MW Ground mounted, 441MW

Overall Higher defect rates for roof vs ground installations


• Backsheet defects are > 3X higher on roof systems
• Cell defects are similar for Roof and Ground

Differences are likely due to higher temperatures for roof systems


• Roof Systems are typically 15oC higher than Ground Mounted1
• This trend with temperature is similar to the effect seen in climates

1 Creep in Photovoltaic Modules: Examining the Stability of Polymeric Materials and Components
(2010) 35th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC ’10) Honolulu, David C. Miller, Michael
Kempe 7
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Analysis of Backsheet Defects vs Age
PVDF PET PVF
1

2
>30 years
in the field

Defect Rates by Backsheet


Material (av. age in Defect rate (MW
Tedlar®-oldest installations, lowest defect percentage
years) basis)
• Defect rate is low and not increasing over time
Tedlar® (5.4) 0.1%
PVDF and Polyester, highest defect percentages
PVDF (2.3) 7% • Defect rate is increasing with time

Polyester(3.0) 8.6% 1Front


2
side yellowing due to inner layer chemical treatment
TPE, Weak inner layer adhesion led to delamination
3 Slight Front side yellowing

8
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Field Examples of Backsheet Inner Layer Yellowing
Backsheet Yellowing on front side Backsheet Yellowing on front side

2 year old fielded module in a desert 9 year old fielded module in Tibet- PET-based
region in USA- PVDF-based backsheet backsheet-100% modules yellowed in 10kW field

Field examples of Backsheet Outer Layer Yellowing


A-Up7 A-Up6 A-Up5 A-Up4 A-Up3 A-Up2 A-Up1

27 26.1 25.9 26.4 25.8 25.5 24.9 25.6 26.4 26 26.2 26.8 24.8 25.2 25.8 25.4 25.8 26.3 25.6 25.5 25.6 25.8 25.5 25.7 24.5 25.3 26.1 24.9 25.2 25.8 26.3 25.6 25.2 25.7 25.1 24.6

26.5 25.8 25.7 26.2 25.5 25.1 24.8 25.2 25.9 25.5 25.7 26.5 23.9 24 25.1 24.3 23.9 25 25.6 25.1 25.8 26.2 25.7 25.3 23.9 24.9 25.8 20.2 23 25.3 26.2 25.3 25 25.6 24.5 24.3

26 24.8 24.7 24.9 24.8 24.1 24.5 25.2 24.7 26.2 22.9 23.4 24.1 22.8 24.5 26 25.3 26.1 25.3 25.3 23.3 23.1 24 20.6 23 25.2 24.4 24.3 24.8 24.3 b* value
26.1 24.9 24.5 24.8 24.4 24.4 24 24.3 25.1 24.9 24.7 25.9 22.5 22.7 23.7 22.8 23 24.2 25.7 25.2 26 25.5 25.5 25.2 23.9 23.9 24.7 23.5 22.9 24.2 24.6 24.2 24.3 25.8 25 24.6
Max High
24.2 22.7 22.5 22.9 22.4 22.4 21.9 22.4 23.4 22.4 22.6 23.6 19.9 19.9 21.2 20 19.6 21.4 24.3 23.8 24.2 23.6 24 23.5 21.9 22 23.2 22 21.1 22.5 22.8 22.6 23.1 24.9 24.7 24.2

23.4 20.9 19.8 20.3 19.7 21.1 20.3 19.7 20.8 19.6 20.9 23.1 18.6 16.4 17.8 16.8 17.6 20.8 23.4 20.7 20.4 19.7 20.1 21.2 21.8 20.7 21 20.1 19.4 22 21.9 20.3 21.7 24.7 24.7 24.3 27.0
23.1 20.4 18.6 19.2 18.4 20.6 19.5 18.5 19.4 18.6 20.1 21.9 18.3 14.8 16 14.6 16.6 20.2 22.9 19.7 18.6 17.9 18.4 20.3 21.6 20.1 20 18.1 18.6 21.3 21.4 19.6 20.8 24.8 24.6 24.3

21.3 19.2 17.6 18.9 17.5 18.8 16.7 16.6 18 16.7 17.8 19.3 15.9 13.7 15 13.4 14.4 17.7 20.7 18.3 17.7 17.3 17.7 18.6 18.9 18.6 19 17.2 17.3 19.7 19.8 18.5 19.7 23.6 24.3 24.2
24.2
23.3 20.9 19.2 19.7 19 20.9 18.4 18.4 19.4 18.4 19.2 21 17.3 13.9 15.4 13.8 15.2 19.2 21.9 19.2 18.2 18 17.9 20.3 20.6 19.5 19.3 17.6 18.1 20.9 20.7 19.1 20.2 24 24.5 24.6
21.4
E 21 20 20.3 17 18.1 19.9 18.1 18.3 19.1 17.3 19.5 21.1 18.5 15.9 17.1 15.5 16.6 20.3 18.4 16.7 17.6 14.5 15.1 18.3 22 19.7 18.3 17.9 18.8 20.1 20 18.6 17.4 25 24.9 24.9

18.7 18.3 18.5 16.1 15.5 17.4 15.9 16.4 17.8 16 16.1 18.4 17.3 14.6 17 15 14.5 17.4 16.6 15.4 17.1 14.2 13.1 15.2 20.3 18.4 16.8 17.2 17.4 17.2 19.1 17.8 19.4 23.5 24.1 24.3
18.7
20.4 19.2 18.8 16.5 19.7 18.4 17.4 18.5 19 21.4 18.7 15.6 17.4 16.7 20.6 18.5 16.3 17.7 14.2 18.1 22.2 19.6 17.8 18.6 20.8 20.4 18.8 20.6 24.7 25
15.9
20.9 20.2 20.2 18.8 18.5 20.6 19.4 19.3 20 19.2 20.2 22.2 19.7 18 19.2 18.5 18.3 21.4 19.3 18.5 19.5 17.5 17.3 19.6 22.8 21.1 19.7 20.2 20.5 21.6 21.2 20 21.2 24.6 24.8 24.6

21.1 21.5 21.7 21.2 20.4 21.5 21.1 21.6 22.1 21.3 21.4 22.4 20.7 20.9 21.9 21.1 20.6 21.9 20.3 20.9 21.9 20.8 19.8 21.1 22.8 22.6 22.2 22.5 22.6 22.4 22.2 22 22.7 24.3 24.4 24.7 13.1
23.5 23.6 24.3 23.6 23.1 24.4 23.3 23.5 24.4 23.6 23.6 24.6 23.2 23.3 24.1 23.6 23.1 24.5 23.1 23.1 24.2 23.4 22.9 23.9 24.7 23.9 24.5 24.7 24.5 24.3 24.2 23.8 24 25.2 24.6 24.4
Min Low
24.4 24.5 25.4 24.8 24.7 25.4 24 24.3 25.5 24.8 24.9 25.5 24.3 24.7 25.5 25.1 24.6 25.4 24 24.3 25.4 24.5 24.4 25.1 25 23.7 24.6 24.9 24.8 24.6 25.2 24.7 24.4 25.4 24.4 24.4

24.7 24.9 25.8 25.5 25.3 25.7 24.6 24.9 25.6 25.6 25.4 26 24.8 25.2 26.2 25.8 25.7 26.1 24.6 25.1 26 25.4 25.4 26 24.7 24 24.3 24.5 24.6 24 26 25.3 25.1 25.3 24.6 24.1

PET-based A-Down7
25 25.7 26.5 26.7 26.3 26.5 25.4 25.6 26.3 26.3 26.2 26.6 25.1 25.7 26.3 26.3 26.5 26.8 25.6 25.9

A-Down6 A-Down5 A-Down4


27 26.5 26.7 26.9

A-Down3
26 25.4 25.9

A-Down2
26 25.6 24.9 26.6 26.1 25.7 26.1 25.3 25.2

A-Down1

Backsheets Yellowness measured on 12 rooftop modules deployed 15 years in Japan.


Significant yellowing even on the interior of array (b* of 13-20) Detail of module from the installation
Highest yellowing is along edges with highest UV exposure (b* up to 27) shown on left
9
Source: Modules provided by AIST; DuPont analysis Copyright ©
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Yellowing: Indicates Polymer Degradation
Correlates with loss of Mechanical Properties

• Yellowing is often observed on the backsheet air side in the field.

• An extensive study comparing yellowing with elongation loss showed a


correlation

• Loss of elongation can lead to cracking

Yellowness
4yrs solar farm correlates with
PET-based backsheet Loss of Elongation

Yellowing is an indication of polymer degradation and can place


modules at risk for failure and safety.
10
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Cracking: Backsheet Loses Insulation and Places Modules at
High Risk for Failure and Safety

9yrs rooftop Arizona: 35kW 4yrs solar farm NA: 40kW 4yrs solar farm China: 20MW
PET-based backsheet PVDF-based backsheet PA-based backsheet
PET-based Backsheet cracking PVDF-based Backsheet cracking & PA-based Backsheet large amount
with ~15-20% of modules delamination 57% of modules of cracking with ~40% of modules
cracked. 80% power loss cracked cracked.

Backsheet cracking observed in 3 classes of backsheets 11


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Breakage, busbar corrosion, and power loss in glass-glass modules

Observation: Bus bar Corrosion, EVA browning Observation: Bus Bar Corrosion,
Power loss Power loss
Location: Danzhou (China), Time: 15 years Location: Okinawa (Japan), Time:11 years

9yrs rooftop Arizona:


Observation: Bus35kW
bar Corrosion 4yrs solar farm NA: Observation:
40kW
Extensive breakage
PET-based backsheet PVDF-based backsheet
Power loss
Location: Shanghai (China), Time: 5 years Location: Yannan (China), Time: 10 years

• Multiple failures: Power Loss & Breakages across regions, applications (roof+ground)
• Believed higher corrosion rates are due to trapping of acetic acid by the glass backsheet
12
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Tedlar® Field Case: 18yrs Old Tedlar® TPT Installation in Beijing
Low Power Loss and No Sign of Degradation

18yrs field module with TPT backsheet shows low power loss rate (0.7%/yr)

Tedlar® from
field after 18yrs

Standard PVF

Tedlar® film shows no degradation after 18yrs field TPT backsheet maintains 160.8% elongation and 92.1 Mpa
service tensile strength, excellent retention of properties 13
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Tedlar® Protecting Modules for over 35 years

SUPSI, Switzerland 1982 Nara, Japan 1983 SMUD, USA 1984 Vermont, USA 1985

SYSU, China 1985 Mt Soleil, Switzerland 1992 Tamil Nadu, India 1995 Beijing, China 1999

14
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Conclusions
• Results of >190 site inspections shows 22% of modules have defects

- Cells (11.3%) and backsheets (7.5%) are the leading categories


- Hot arid climate shows greatest polymer defect frequency
- No climate trend for cells and metallization
- Backsheet defects are 3X greater frequency on roof vs ground mount

• Backsheet defect analysis

- Defect rates are


- 7% for PVDF backsheets
- 8.6% for PET-based backsheets
- 0.1% for PVF-based backsheets

- Defects rates for PVDF and PET-based backsheets are increasing with time, rate is
not increasing for PVF
- Yellowing is observed on both front and airsides of backsheets
- Backsheet airside yellowing is correlated with backsheet cracking
- Glass breakage, bus bar corrosion, and power loss is seen in glass-glass modules
- Tedlar® PVF stable

• Tedlar® PVF offers the best protection for PV modules


15
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