Solar simulator for photovoltaic modules
Eurac Research's flash solar simulator measures the electrical output of photovoltaic modules and systems. The tests performed in this lab not only enable various technologies to be compared under constant and controllable conditions, but can also be used to verify the statements made by manufacturers on guaranteed levels of performance.
The flash solar simulator (classified as "AAA" class according to international standard IEC 60904-9) is equipped with a temperature control system for regulating the test conditions and replicates the light spectrum of the sun exactly. The simulator accurately measures the I-V curve of photovoltaic modules under standard conditions (pursuant to IEC 61215 and 61646). This allows researchers to test the performance of modules under various irradiance (0–1000 W/m2) and temperature (5–75 °C) conditions and to measure their temperature coefficient.
In order to subject the photovoltaic modules to even more tests, in addition to the solar simulator, the lab is equipped with a climatic chamber for performing accelerated life testing. The climatic chamber (1.3 x 1.5 x 2.2 m) simulates the environmental conditions to which a photovoltaic module is exposed during its useful life and which accelerate the natural degradation process. This enables efficiency losses over a module's lifetime to be precisely determined.
Various combinations of temperature and humidity are created during the test cycles and the climatic chamber is large enough to accommodate up to ten standard photovoltaic modules per test run.
Turning knowledge into commercial success
From prototype development, testing and simulations to product enhancements and the market launch of finished products, lab tests are an important part of the long-term collaboration between research and industry.
By working with the researchers at Eurac Research, companies benefit from proven expertise in the quality assessment and reliability testing of photovoltaic modules, the research of solar energy and the integration of photovoltaics in buildings and power grids. Eurac Research has acquired its in-depth knowledge from its links with international research networks and has already put it to good use during a range of projects with local businesses.
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We gratefully acknowledge the traceability to the SI unit of irradiance via the ESTI laboratory within Directorate C – Energy, Transport and Climate at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre