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Journal of Solar Energy
Volume 2016, Article ID 2473245, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/2473245
Research Article

Experimental Study of the Degradation of Silicon Photovoltaic Devices under Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

1Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Mauritius, Reduit 80837, Mauritius
2Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Holywell Park, Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

Received 23 March 2016; Accepted 5 July 2016

Academic Editor: Sundaram Senthilarasu

Copyright © 2016 Heman Shamachurn and Thomas Betts. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure on amorphous silicon (a-Si), bare crystalline silicon (c-Si), and epoxy resin encapsulated c-Si devices. The long-term reliability of photovoltaic (PV) modules is crucial in ensuring the viability of PV as a successful source of energy. Accelerated UV ageing methods are required to quickly evaluate the UV durability of module materials. A UV exposure unit was designed and constructed and provided an average of 45.7 W/m2 of UV irradiance over the exposure area with a nonuniformity of 14.9%. The a-Si devices lost up to 44% of maximum power () at Standard Test Conditions over 500 hours of exposure to UV, with maximum losses of 11% in short-circuit current (), 11% in open-circuit voltage (), 23% in voltage at (), and 29% in current at (). The epoxy resin encapsulated samples lost up to 6.4% in , 6% in , and 7% in with the changes in and being random. The bare cells showed relatively little degradation. UV radiation thus accelerates the degradation of a-Si devices, deteriorates polymeric encapsulates of modules, and possibly affects the antireflective coatings applied on solar cells.