The primary goal of ASU-PRL’s research activities is to predict the lifetime of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules for four different climatic conditions: hot-dry, hot-humid, cold-dry and temperate. To achieve this goal,  ASU-PRL is currently involved in five vertically integrated reliability research areas:

  • Outdoor field evaluation to identify climate-specific failure and degradation modes and mechanisms
  • Indoor accelerated testing to replicate the field failure and degradation modes and mechanisms in a short-period of time acceptable to the PV industry
  • Device characterizations at both cell and module levels to identify the performance parameters (Voc, Isc, FF and Pmax) affected by the failure and degradation modes
  • Material characterizations to determine the mechanisms responsible for the degradation and failure modes
  • Physical and statistical modeling based on the outdoor evaluations, indoor tests, device characterizations and material characterizations

ASU-PRL is a multi-million dollar research laboratory and is equipped with a large number of PV reliability research equipment including: three walk-in accelerated testing environmental chambers; weathering chamber; four current-voltage curve tracers;  solar simulator; cell- and module-level quantum efficiency machine; commercial-size PV panel laminator; DSC; TGA; indoor and outdoor FTIR; universal  material tester;  IR  imager; EL  imager; PID station; indoor soil deposition station; outdoor soiling monitoring stations; weather monitoring stations; and rooftop, fixed-tilt,  1-axis and 2-axis tracker based test stations. In the past few years alone, ASU-PRL submitted more than 25 proposals and has received funding for more than 14 proposals. ASU-PRL is funded by various funding agencies including, but not limited to: DOE, Sandia, NREL, SFAz, APS, and SRP. ASU-PRL has generated nearly 20 graduate theses (mostly MS theses) between 2012 and 2015. Currently, about 15 students are working towards their graduate theses. ASU-PRL has published more than 30 papers, in 2014 and 2015, in highly reputed peer-reviewed journals and conferences including IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics and IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC). In 2014 and 2015, four papers of ASU-PRL students were selected for the finalists at the IEEE PVSC and two of these won the final awards.