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German solar modules sail through performance degradation test

TÜV Rheinland certifies the resistance of Centrosolar’s modules to voltage-related reductions in performance

The performance of Centrosolar’s modules is reduced by less than one per cent
The performance of Centrosolar’s modules is reduced by less than one per cent when voltage-related incidents occur, according to testing body TÜV Rheinland

PV modules produced by Germany’s Centrosolar have been certified by TÜV Rheinland as being resistant to voltage-related performance degradation. Such degradation, which is referred to as potential induced degradation (PID), is one of the main causes of reduced performance of photovoltaic modules over the course of their life cycle.

Centrosolar commissioned testing institute TÜV Rheinland to perform the analysis. During the test, modules are subjected to a negative voltage of 1,000 volts for seven days at room temperature. Modules are deemed to pass the test once when performance is reduced by no more than five per cent. The Centrosolar modules were tested at fluctuating temperatures for an additional seven days and indicated their performance was reduced by less than one per cent.

The test confirms that the performance of modules produced by Centrosolar at its factory Sonnenstromfabrik remains more or less consistent over decades, said the company’s managing director, Dr Johannes Kneip.

“The outstanding results of the PID test are just another indication of the high quality of our modules,” he said. “We examine cells and modules in our production facility according to the same standards as TÜV. We only deliver systems that are guaranteed to be PID-free.”

The phenomenon of voltage-related performance degradation has become an important topic in recent months. Under unfavourable conditions, power leaks can develop at the transition point from the module and the frame, and this can result in short circuits that lead to decreased system performance. Four independent testing institutes, including TÜV Rheinland, have developed a testing process that enables the PID sensitivity of crystalline PV modules to be measured. Centrosolar is one of the first German solar companies that has already carried out this test and passed it successfully, the firm said.