A review of the degradation of photovoltaic modules for life expectancy

MDPI|Jaeun Kim, Matheus Rabelo, Siva Parvathi Padi, Hasnain Yousuf, Eun-Chel Cho, and Junsin Yi|July 15, 2021
Photovoltaic Solar

This paper examines methods of testing the life-expectancy and rate of degradation of solar panels by using accelerated-stress tests within a laboratory setting. The abstract and conclusion of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed from the document links on this page. 


Photovoltaic (PV) modules are generally considered to be the most reliable components of PV systems. The PV module has a high probability of being able to perform adequately for 30 years under typical operating conditions. In order to evaluate the long-term performance of a PV module under diversified terrestrial conditions, outdoor-performance data should be used. However, this requires a wait of 25 years to determine the module reliability, which is highly undesirable. Thus, accelerated-stress tests performed in the laboratory by mimicking different field conditions are important for understanding the performance of a PV module. In this paper, we discuss PV-module degradation types and different accelerated-stress types that are used to evaluate the PV-module reliability and durability for life expectancy before using them in the real field. Finally, prevention and correction measures are described to minimize economic losses.


In this article, we reviewed various modes of PV-module degradation rates and AT methods for life expectancy. Corrosion, discoloration, deformation, destruction, delamination, breakage, and cracking are the main causes of solar-module deprivation. Environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and UV radiation, are the main factors affecting the aging of PV modules.

Concerns about a PV module’s performance drift (durability) or premature outdating (reliability) are major obstacles to PV deployment and project financing. AT is a method of evaluating the reliability and durability of PV modules by encouraging failures and performance degradation in a short time period. AT uses more severe operating conditions than the original field operating conditions to replicate the actual field-failure mechanisms.

The current review provided detailed observations of the current and future states of PV-module AT. According to the literature, there is a significant need to improve the accelerated-test protocol for relative and lifetime testing of PV modules. Accelerated-test conditions focus on analyzing the PV-module health and technical failures after selecting a specific test corresponding to a specific failure mode and applying the test.

Research on AT to date has suggested and successfully mitigated the different types of failure and degradation modes that occur in PV modules under real-time working conditions. The failure and degradation modes of PV modules are largely determined by the actual field work conditions in which they are configured and operated.

Accelerated tests have been successful to some extent; however, a vast database of climatic conditions should be created, especially by comparing old PV power plants (10–30 years) with the same characteristics as the current-generation modules. This will help develop a variety of accelerated tests that are prioritized by specific climatic conditions. We also offer some solutions to minimize solar-cell deterioration in Section 4, which can help manufacturers optimize their production to improve cell quality and provide long-term warranties to customers.


Energies 14 04278 V2 Compressed

October 8, 2022


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