Scientists led by NREL have developed a new stress testing protocol for PV modules, one designed to simultaneously expose modules to multiple stresses, as they likely would be in the field. Putting modules through this test, the researchers have already been able to reveal new information regarding backsheet degradation, and they promise new insights into other degradation mechanisms.
Researchers in the UK have analyzed 25 years of electricity-production and carbon emissions data from 123 countries. Their findings show renewables are considerably more effective than nuclear in reducing carbon emissions from energy generation and that the two technologies tend to get in each other’s way when considered in a joint approach.
Scientists in Spain have tested various properties of anti-reflective and anti-soiling coatings for PV module glass, aiming to develop a material that offers the best balance of desired material properties at the lowest cost. Over a year of testing, the best coatings were shown to boost module output by around 2%, and the group also made several observations that could influence future developments of coatings for PV module front glass.
The mechanisms behind light-elevated temperature-induced degradation are still not fully understood, but it is known to cause significant performance losses for modules in the field. Scientists in China are investigating the causes of the phenomenon, and are currently focused on the surface of the materials and the interfaces between the silicon and passivation layers.
Product piracy is a well-known threat in many industries, and in solar the risk posed by poor quality products from disreputable manufacturers making their way onto rooftops and other PV installations should not be underestimated. With manufacturers investing in solutions to protect against inferior products bearing their logo, pv magazine looks at the size of the problem.
Getting the most out of a bifacial module requires a rethink at almost every level of system design and the industry is hungry for field data generated by such systems to better inform energy yield modeling and define the best approaches to maximizing yield at minimal cost. NREL’s three-year study into bifacial performance is beginning to yield results.
An international group of scientists has developed a method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them.
MIT scientists have developed a solar desalinator which sends heat from the sun through a ten-stage process of evaporation and condensation. The group estimates that a $100 device incorporating their innovation could provide the daily drinking water needs of a family.
Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are working to quantify the effects of abundant snowfall on a PV system and identify cost-effective strategies to mitigate energy losses and reliability issues caused by the presence of snow and ice.
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin have taken back the world efficiency record for a perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell, achieving 29.15% with a device measuring 1cm². The record has been confirmed by Fraunhofer ISE, and according to HZB, this means that the 30% efficiency mark is within reach.
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