Performance and Reliability

  • Why Solar Efficiency Is Important

    You may be wondering what solar efficiency is and why high efficiency solar panels are better than low efficiency panels. Here are some solar power facts to help you understand how solar efficiency works and why it should be a key consideration for any solar investment.

  • Generation III High Efficiency Lower Cost Technology: Transition to full scale Manufacturing

    Generation III High Efficiency Lower Cost Technology: Transition to full scale Manufacturing

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    Generation III High Efficiency Lower Cost Technology: Transition to full scale Manufacturing

    --by David D. Smith, Peter J. Cousins, Asnat Masad, Ann Waldhauer, Staffan Westerberg, Michael Johnson, Xiuwen Tu, Tim Dennis, Gabriel Harley, Genevieve Solomon, Seung Rim, Michael Shepherd, Scott Harrington, Michael Defensor, Arjelene Leygo, Princess Tomada, Junbo Wu,Thomas Pass, Laurice Ann Laurio Smith, Neil Bergstrom, Christopher Nicdao, Pauline Tipones, and Dennis Vicente
     
    The SunPower Gen III solar cell is a high efficiency design intended to reduce costs throughout the value chain. Previously reported pilot line experience with Maxeon Gen III has been deployed to a full scale production line in SunPower’s Philippines manufacturing plant. The solar cell line is currently being propagated into SunPower’s Fab2 operation to expand production capacity to greater than 50 MW by early 2013.

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    PVLife: An Integrated Model for Predicting PV Performance Degradation over 25+ Years

    PVLife: An Integrated Model for Predicting PV Performance Degradation over 25+ Years

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    PVLife: An Integrated Model for Predicting PV Performance Degradation over 25+ Years

    --by Mark Mikofski, David F. J. Kavulak, David Okawa, Yu-Chen Shen, Akira Terao, Michael Anderson, Wendell Caldwell, Doug Kim, Nicholas Boitnott, Junrhey Castro, Laurice Ann Laurio Smith, Ryan Lacerda, and Ernest F. Hasselbrink Jr.
     
    Warranties of 25 years are the norm in the solar industry, yet physical data to support designing to meet this reliability requirement are typically not fully integrated into a complete physical model. In this paper we report results of an integrated model that not only solves the coupled electro-thermal equations that predict panel performance for a given set of weather conditions, but also incorporates physical sub-models for key degradation modes and failure modes that govern panel lifetime performance.

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    Temperature of Solder Contact in Back-Contact Si Solar Cells and Its Effect on Reliability of Modules under Localized Shading Environments

    Temperature of Solder Contact in Back-Contact Si Solar Cells and Its Effect on Reliability of Modules under Localized Shading Environments.

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    Temperature of Solder Contact in Back-Contact Si Solar Cells and Its Effect on Reliability of Modules under Localized Shading Environments

    --by Lewis Abra, Seung B. Rim, and Doug Kim
     
    Reliability of Si solar modules during thermal cycling and shading conditions strongly depends on the maximum temperature of the solder contact between the solar cells and the cell to cell interconnects. While the maximum temperature of the solder contact is known to be critical for the lifetime of a solder joint, typical reliability tests and simulations are conducted under the assumption that the solder contact is the same temperature as the cells. This test condition and assumption is true for typical front-contact Si cells. However, the actual temperature of soldercontacts is cooler for back contact Si cells.

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    Solar Energy System Performance Modeling

    SunPower's custom simulation tool provides fast and accurate solar energy production estimates

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    Solar Energy System Performance Modeling

    --by Ben Bourne

    SunPower Corporation develops and maintains a custom photovoltaic (PV) simulation tool called PVSim for producing estimates of PV system energy production (yield). Although there are sophisticated “off-the-shelf” PV simulation tools available, SunPower has chosen to invest in developing our own custom tool to provide maximum flexibility to meet the changing modeling needs of the company. In particular, in-house development enables us to quickly adapt the model to accurately reflect new module and mounting products and allows us to make use of measured performance data from over 350 MW (over 650 systems) for model-level and system-level validation. The purpose of this Summary is to give a brief description of the SunPower PVSim tool and the validation of the simulation against actual results.

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    Performance Results of a Low-Concentration Photovoltaic System Based on High-Efficiency Back-Contact Solar Cells

    Low concentration PV systems can reduce the capital expense per watt by up to 90%

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    Performance Results of a Low-Concentration Photovoltaic System Based on High-Efficiency Back-Contact Solar Cells

    --by Zachary S. Judkins, Keith W. Johnston, Charles Almy, Ryan J. Linderman, Brian Wares, Nicholas A. Barton, Matt Dawson and Jack Peurach

    As the solar industry scales towards installation capacities in the range of 30 to 50 gigawatts per year, SunPower has begun to evaluate concentration in order to leverage solar cell production capacity. SunPower is focusing research and development investments in low concentration photovoltaic (LCPV) systems, which can reduce capital expense per watt by up to 90% while minimizing design changes in SunPower’s high efficiency back contact solar cells.

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    High-Confidence Prediction of Energy Production from High-Efficiency Photovoltaic Systems

    Understand the attributes that influence energy production from SunPower modules relative to other technologies.

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    High-Confidence Prediction of Energy Production from High-Efficiency Photovoltaic Systems

    --by Doug Rose, Oliver Koehler, Ben Bourne, David Kavulak and Lauren Nelson

    This paper discusses four interrelated topics regarding energy production from photovoltaic systems and prediction of that energy production. Together these topics support high kWh/kWp performance of SunPower modules and accurate prediction of that performance across a wide range of applications.

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    Qualification, Manufacturing, and Reliability Testing Methodologies for Deploying High-Reliability Solar Modules

    SunPower has broad experience with reliability, with over a decade of solar experience

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    Qualification, Manufacturing, and Reliability Testing Methodologies for Deploying High-Reliability Solar Modules

    --by D. DeGraaff, S. Caldwell, R. Lacerda, G. Bunea, A. Terao and D. Rose

    With over a decade of experience fielding and maintaining solar fields – built with a wide variety of PV modules from more than a dozen different manufacturers – SunPower has broad experience with reliability. Combining this field data with the manufacturing rigor inherited from roots in the semiconductor industry has lead to the development of a robust methodology for deploying high-reliability solar modules. This paper shares SunPower’s methodology, which spans qualification testing, supplier quality, manufacturing quality and ongoing reliability testing.

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    Performance and Reliability of Solar Panels with Anti-Reflective Coated Glass

    Anti-reflective glass improves solar energy output

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    Performance and Reliability of Solar Panels with Anti-Reflective Coated Glass

    --by Gabriela Bunea, Grace Xavier, Doug Rose, Lauren Nelson and Jack Peurach

    Anti-reflection coated (ARC) glass is being used in an increasing percentage of PV modules due to expected higher power and energy output. Assurance of the energy gain and the reliability of the coating is essential to create value. This paper reports on the steps taken to test, qualify, and release in production photovoltaic modules made with ARC glass.

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