Failure Analysis Methods Applied to PV Module Reliability
By W. J. Gambogi, E. F. McCord, H. D. Rosenfeld, R. H. Senigo, S. Peacock and K. M. Stika
In the testing of photovoltaic materials and modules, failure mode analysis (FMA) provides insights into the specific mechanism of performance breakdown and offers opportunities to improve performance by materials, process and design modification. We review several analytical methods applied to the failure mode analysis of a photovoltaic module and test structures to better understand the nature of the failure including several methods not previously discussed in the FMA literature applied to photovoltaic devices. Included in this discussion will be the use of environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) and x-ray microtomography to investigate the failure mechanism in electrical impulse testing of a candidate PV module.