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PV5: Reliability

Solar Energy Research Center for India and the United States (SERIIUS)


Sustainable Photovoltaics


Multiscale modeling and reliability


To develop a base of accurate reliability data for the photovoltaic (PV) technologies, especially in the context of the environment of India (with some emphasis on rural-area applications); to explore de-centralized PV and other solar applications specifically suitable for India.

Project Milestones

P24: Exchange available data and information among the ASU, SEC, FSEC, IISc, and UL (ongoing).

P25: Develop detailed database of reliability data for provided materials and devices (24 months).

P26: Couple database information directly to the integrated modeling (60 months).

P27: Design solar-system for applications in rural areas in India (30 months).

P28: Design decentralized solar PV systems suitable for commercial buildings in India (30 months).

P29: Develop accelerated lifetime testing program with models based on field database (36 months).

P30: Initiate accelerated testing programs (48 months), with physical and statistical models developed (60 months).

Task 1: Module reliability testing

  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Solar Energy Center (SEC)
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
  • Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
  • Underwriters Laboratories-India

The task will initially focus on evaluating consortium and baseline commercial PV modules, and upon initial testing, real-world deployment (such as in rural applications) to evaluate power production, growth rates, and lifetime. This will provide a baseline for coupling the reliability testing and modeling. We will make the data (and, as developed, models) available first to the investigators and, where possible, to the open community as predictive tools that can be applied for any emerging solar technology. As this activity evolves, we anticipate that it will lead a number of companies interested in collaborating with SERIIUS on reliability testing in India and in the reliability testing of cells and modules developed within SERIIUS.

Task 2: Decentralized solar PV applications

Subtask A: System qualification and characterization
  • Solar Energy Center (SEC)
Subtask B: Component certification
  • Arizona State University (ASU)
Subtask C: Decentralized solar PV power for commercial buildings
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)

Unlike the U.S., where centralized power applications dominate, the eventual deployment landscape in India is decentralized in rural, as well as in urban (especially commercial) environments. This requires systems specifically designed for integrated nano- or micro-grid applications. In this task, we examine and evaluate the specific technology needs for these systems (incorporating this as feedback to Projects PV-1–3, as well as SEI-1–3) and specify: 1) methods to characterize systems, 2) what component certification might be needed and implemented, and 3) how this could be employed in solar PV systems for targeted rural and urban environments.

Task 3: Integrated databases and predictability

  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Solar Energy Center (SEC)
  • Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
  • Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP)

A key goal of the project is to integrate a database of performance and reliability data for applications in India. This will provide needed feedback/data for creating a methodology for developing accelerated lifetime testing (ALT). This will also provide a framework to identify which technologies can and should be deployed in India and which ones have the greatest suitability for various environments. This will also identify India-specific problems needing packaging and system-integration improvements. These models will be directly beneficial to deployment in the U.S.