Atlas Establishes PV Module Durability Testing Program

Atlas Material Testing Technology has taken a broad leap forward in the solar energy industry, introducing the Atlas 25PlusTM test program for determining the durability of photovoltaic modules, combining state-of-the-art instrumental and outdoor exposure testing.

Existing test standards such as the IEC module design qualification tests do not address long term durability issues. These tests are designed to reveal potential design or manufacturing defects resulting in early "infant mortality" failures. They are not intended or able to predict the longer term degradation or failure modes resulting from the accumulated damaging effects of climate related stresses.

Drawing on over 90 years' experience as the innovation leaders in weathering test methods and equipment, 25+ of those years being in photovoltaics beginning with module testing for Skylab, Atlas has developed the Atlas 25Plus PV module durability testing program. This program consists of a comprehensive battery of accelerated tests integrating both laboratory and outdoor environmental exposures targeting the long-term product "wear-out" period that can result in declining module performance or outright failure.

A compliment to the IEC test protocol, Atlas 25Plus for longer term durability involves a very different test methodology.

  • Test parameters are realistically climate based
  • The key environmental stresses of temperature, moisture and solar radiation are delivered simultaneously, as they are in the real world
  • Targeted accelerated environmental tests including UV exposure, salt corrosion and condensing humidity are included within the testing regimen
  • Modules are light-exposed forward-biased under resistive load at the max power point

Module performance characteristics are measured at intervals with I-V curves, visual inspections, digital photography and infrared thermography. Additional measurements, such as leakage current and IEC design qualification tests, are available as options. Modules aged under this program are subsequently available for additional tests such as UL safety or IEC performance tests.

Atlas 25Plus leverages the key concepts of best-practices weathering testing, the combined experiences of other high value industries such as automotive and building products, and the available knowledge on module weathering; better test methodology yields better results.
About Atlas Material Testing Technology

Atlas Material Testing Technology

Atlas® is a recognized leader in material testing, offering a complete line of instruments and services for accelerated and natural weathering. The Atlas Consulting Group helps clients develop the best weathering processes for their products, as well as offers education and training courses worldwide. For accelerated laboratory and outdoor testing, Atlas Weathering Services Group has five laboratories and over 20 outdoor exposure sites around the world in a variety of climates, including desert, subtropical, high-altitude and corrosive. Atlas Material Testing Technology is ISO 17025 and ISO 9001:2008 registered. Atlas products are designed and manufactured to conform to international, national and industry standard test methods including ISO, ASTM, DIN, JIS and numerous others.

Partners

Acknowledgements

Solar Media