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Studies of stability and performance of solar cells and modules

Lund, C.P., Luczak, K., Pryor, T., Cornish, J.C.L. and Jennings, P. (1998) Studies of stability and performance of solar cells and modules. In: Proceedings of Solar '98 the 36th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, 25 - 27 November, Christchurch, New Zealand pp. 510-517.

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Knowledge and understanding of the long term performance of photovoltaic solar cells and modules is important if they are to be used as a major source of power generation. A number of studies of the long-term performance of photovoltaic modules using different technologies have been reported in the literature and these will be reviewed. Currently a field and laboratory evaluation of the long-term performance of state-of-the-art amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) photovoltaic modules in Australian outdoor conditions is being undertaken at Murdoch University. This paper will report the results from this monitoring program and compare the stability of a-Si:H modules with those of c-Si modules under the same conditions. In addition to general factors that result in a loss of performance in all modules, some types of solar cells, such as those made from thin film a-Si:H, also suffer specific losses in performance due to photodegradation or the Staebler-Wronski effect (SWE). This paper will report on outdoor and laboratory studies being undertaken at Murdoch University on the nature of the SWE in a-Si:H solar cells and how the stability of these cells is affected by different operating conditions. A mechanism for the SWE in p-i-n a-Si:H solar cells is presented based on our research.

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