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Stress and Fracture of Crystalline Silicon Cells in Solar Photovoltaic Modules – A Synchrotron X-ray Microdiffraction based Investigation

  • Sasi Kumar Tippabhotla (a1), W. J. R. Song (a1), Anbalagan Subramani (a1), Camelia V. Stan (a2), Nobumichi Tamura (a2), Andrew A. O. Tay (a1) and Arief S. Budiman (a1)...


Fracture of crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells in photovoltaic modules is a big concern to the photovoltaics (PV) industry. Cell cracks cause performance degradation and warranty issues to the manufacturers. The roots of cell fractures lie in the manufacturing and integration process of the cells and modules as they go through a series of elevated temperature and pressure processes, involving bonding of dissimilar materials, causing residual stresses. Evaluation of the exact physical mechanisms leading to these thermomechanical stresses is highly essential to quantify them and optimize the PV modules to address them. We present a novel synchrotron X-ray microdiffraction based techniques to characterize the stress and fracture in the crystalline silicon PV modules. We show the detailed stress state after soldering and lamination process, using the synchrotron X-ray microdiffraction experiments. We also calculate the maximum tolerable microcrack size in the c-Si cells to sustain the residual stress after lamination. We further demonstrate the effect of these residual stresses on the cell fractures using the widely accepted fracture (4-point bending) tests. These test results show that the soldering and lamination induced localized residual stresses indeed reduce the load-carrying capacity of the c-Si cells.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding Authors: (A.S. Budiman), (Sasi Kumar)


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