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Ultraviolet Fluorescence Image Analysis as Inspection Method for Photovoltaic Cells - Development of an Experimental Setup and an Automatized Image Processing Tool

  • Efficient and reliable onsite inspection methods are gaining importance as the construc-tion of PV power plants is expanding. For large PV installations, time- and cost-efficient failure detection is essential for optimized operation and maintenance. For this purpose, various optical methods as Infrared thermography (IR), Electroluminescence (EL), Pho-toluminescence (PL) and Ultraviolet Fluorescence (UVF) are employed and under con-stant development. For each method, the camera, and eventually the light source, can be handheld, or mounted on a drone, also called unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV), to achieve higher throughputs. IR is the most widely used optical onsite PV inspection method, as many defects can be detected by the thermal radiation (heating) of the defect component. EL and PL reveal further information on the electrical behaviour of the Si-waver. They are also widely used and take the role of a complement to IR, showing electrically active/inactive areas of the semiconductor. On the other hand, UVF focuses on the degradation of the polymeric encapsulant of the Si-cell, most commonly consisting of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate). The degradation of the encapsulant can lead to its discoloration, also called yellow-ing/browning, which decreases the transmittance of visual light. UVF patterns can show this yellowing as well as humidity and oxygen entrances, which can lead to effects of corrosion. Both mechanisms (discoloration and corrosion) decrease the performance of the PV cell. The discoloration cannot be directly observed on IR or EL images, as the encapsulant is neither a heat source nor electroconductive. Using IR imagery, severe discoloration might be observed indirectly, as the reduced optical transmittance leads to changes in heat transfer mechanisms concerning the cell and the encapsulant. Similarly, as long as corrosion does not lead to inactive cell areas or heating, it most likely will not be spotted using EL, PL or IR. So, UVF can fill the niche of inspecting the state of the encapsulant and detecting its defects due to climate impacts in early stages. While a high number of studies on IR, EL, PL and some on UVF were performed in Europe and the USA, there are not yet many studies about the application of these tech-niques in South America (i.e., in Brazil). UVF mainly depends on climate factors (irradi-ation, temperature, humidity) and the operation time/”age” of the module. The UVF im-agery method has not yet been tested in climate and system conditions of Brazil. Fur-thermore, systems in Brazil are more recently installed. All this can affect differences in the results of UVF imagery applied in Europe, the USA and Brazil. The present work focuses on the application of UVF imaging on PV power plants in Bra-zil, the creation of an experimental setup and the proposal of proceedings for the data analysis of the acquired images. The aim is to propose a method that is suitable for large-scale inspection.

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Author:Timon Benz
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2022
Date of first Publication:2022/10/05
Release Date:2022/10/05
Page Number:98
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 - Institut Energiesysteme und Energiewirtschaft
DDC class:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoNo Creative Commons