Methodology to predict annual yield losses and gains caused by solar module design and materials under field exposure

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Solar cells and modules are usually optimized separately under standard test conditions (STC). However, the actual performance under field exposure depends on module design, installation and environmental conditions. This work therefore presents a methodology to predict the annual yield of crystalline silicon solar modules for varying module configurations and environments using a time step simulation approach. We define and quantify 12 effects that affect the annual module performance, starting with solar cells in air under STC to a complete module under realistic conditions. We consider the interaction of optical, thermal and electrical effects in the module and combine it with an angular, spectral and time resolved light source. The model enables understanding the impact of the module environment, such as regions with high wind speeds or high diffuse light, on the annual output of a particular module type. We validate our model with measured power and temperature data for crystalline silicon heterojunction solar cell modules and find an agreement of the annual yield within 0.7%. We quantify the annual gains and losses for this module and identify that major losses are caused by elevated operating temperatures (2.3%) and reflection losses at the front glass (2.6%). Critically, the coupling gains at the cell surface increase significantly by 1.5% when considering angular light irradiance compared to normal incidence. Finally, we apply our Cell-to-Module-Yield method to a 72-cell mono-crystalline PERC module, where the main annual yield losses are caused by reflection at the front glass and ohmic losses in the connector ribbons.

Reference Link
I. Haedrich, D. C. Jordan, and M. Ernst, “Methodology to predict annual yield losses and gains caused by solar module design and materials under field exposure,” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 202, 110069 (2019).