Solar simulator for photovoltaic modules
The pulsed light solar simulator of Eurac Research measures the electrical performance of photovoltaic modules. The tests allow, for example, verification of the performance guaranteed by the manufacturer or comparison of the yield of different technologies by subjecting them to the same controlled and repeatable conditions.
The solar simulator (class “AAA” according to the international standard IEC 60904-9) with thermal control of the test conditions precisely reproduces the solar spectrum. It measures the characteris¬tic curve IV of the photovoltaic module under standard conditions (defined by IEC 60904). Furthermore, the measurements determine both the performance of the module in different combinations of irradiance (0-1000 W/m2) and temperature (5-75° C) and its temperature coefficients.
To widen the possibilities of testing on photovoltaic modules, the measurements of the solar simulator can be combined with accelerated aging tests in a climatic chamber. The chamber (1.3 x 1.5 x 2.2 m) simu¬lates the environmental conditions to which the modules of a photovoltaic system are exposed during their life cycle, accelerating the times of natural aging. In this way it is possible to evaluate the degradation of their performance. Cycles include controlled temperature and humidity conditions: temperatures from - 40° C to + 90° C can be reproduced, as can relative humidity from 20% to 95%. The chamber is able to accommodate a maximum of 10 standard-size photovoltaic modules per test session.
Company service expertise
Laboratory tests can become part of a broader collaboration between research and business that starts with the design of a prototype and ends with the creation of a product ready for the market, including simula¬tion phases, specific tests and optimisation. Collaborating with Eurac Research researchers means the assurance of consolidated know-how devel¬oped in international networks and applied in numerous projects with local companies that focus on quality and reliability of modules, the study of the solar resource and the integration of photovoltaics within build¬ings and networks.
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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